The Oilers took on Toronto this evening, in their last regular season meeting between the two teams. The Oilers are a measly 2-5-1 against Toronto this year, so they were looking to put together a win against the Leafs in this one and move closer to first overall. This game comes on the heels of Saturday’s third period collapse for the Oilers, who gave up the lead with under 8 minutes to go and eventually lost an unfortunate bounce in OT.
Two major changes to the Oilers lineup tonight, with Turris drawing back in for Dominik Kahun and playing next to RNH and Kailer Yamamoto and Ennis taking Chiasson’s spot on the third line. Smith gets the start again.
Jack Campbell is hurt (again), so Michael Hutchinson got the start for the Leafs, who had only played 6 minutes in the past month.
Gene Principe also received a shout out from the NHL PR team for his Pride tape.
Thank you @GenePrincipe and @Sportsnet to use your platform to tell our story and support inclusion so strongly. It means everything to us and our friends @YouCanPlayTeam @nhl pride @NHLPA and #HockeyIsForEveryone pic.twitter.com/wpmRWQNBZ4— Pride Tape (@PrideTape) March 29, 2021
Let’s see how the game went.
The Oilers look a little lazy to start this one, with the Leafs moving their feet a bit more and get some quality chances but Mike Smith shuts the door. Galchenyuk, Matthews and Tavares have multiple point blank chances. Oilers scrambling early. Hutchinson looks shaky on the other end, but the Oil are having trouble making a tape to tape pass early in the first so their few shots haven’t been consequential.
And Josh Archibald makes me eat my words, beating Morgan Rielly to a loose puck and sneaking one five hole on Hutchinson. Archibald has his sixth of the year and the Oilers are up 1-0. Khaira and Russell on the assists.
The lead doesn’t last long, as Mitch Marner beats Tyson Barrie and William Lagesson then outwaits Mike Smith before tucking it top shelf. 1-1 game.
Don’t worry though...
Worry is starting to creep in however, as Matthews roofs one past Smith. 2-1 Leafs as the Oilers get caught watching the puck. Barrie gets walked around again. Period ends that way, shots 13-6 for TO.
Early impressions after watching the last game and first period of this game:
- The one line Oilers do not work, second line gets pushed around way too much. Also, sometimes I feel like McDavid and Draisaitl only look for the fancy passing play.
- Lagesson needs a little more seasoning; put Jones in with Larsson.
- Turris has good hands still, but he looks like he’s skating in cement.
- Call up the first line from the AHL’s Condors (McLeod-Marody-Benson) and make it the Oilers’ third line.
- The team doesn’t work hard enough, which I place firmly on the shoulders of the coaching staff and players. Figure it out you guys, it’s embarrassing.
- The Tim Peel incident has resulted in zero change from the NHL. Referees don’t call the rulebook in this league.
A better effort to start the second period, but execution still isn’t quite there. Notable bad games include Tyson Barrie and Leon Draisaitl. Poor, poor puck management by both. Oilers ALMOST have two bounces go into the net however,
The refs miss one of the easiest calls they could have made on McDavid, which Brodie even knew he took, turned into a 2 on 1 but Mike Smith makes a stunningly acrobatic save. Smitty saving the boys, especially when NHL officiating will not call the rulebook. Beyond frustrating.
The refs have found their whistles, but it’s on Edmonton. Haas is off for tripping. No damage done though, and the Oilers stay behind by only one.
Oilers outshoot the Leafs in the second, but the score stays the same. 2-1 Leafs, shots 20-15 for the home team as well. However, the Oilers are leading in zone time and shot attempts now.
Kyle Turris, in his return to the lineup, puts in his second of the year after taking a lucky slap shot off the hip from Larsson. Tie game. Nuge and Larsson with the apples.
Continuing the trend of good luck, the refs actually call a penalty against Toronto! Simmonds with the boarding call on Haas. Draisaitl’s off game continues, and his mismanagement of the puck results in four total turnovers in a minute and a half of powerplay time. Only one shot with the extra man and no damage done.
The Oilers bottom three lines have been pretty good tonight overall, getting lots of zone time and maintaining possession, especially when the first line can’t find any traction.
Barrie though, does leave the ice hurt after taking Matthews’ skate to the chin. It looked horrific, but Tyson was okay. Could have been much, much worse.
incredibly scary moment here as tyson barrie gets hit in the neck by auston matthews' skate. he skated off under his own power and surprisingly wasn't bleeding. pic.twitter.com/MZpHO4Xhto— zach laing (@zjlaing) March 30, 2021
For the second straight game, this game will go to overtime. Time for the big boys to shine!
Ten seconds in, Marner springs Matthews but Smith shuts the door. The Oilers go the other way, and McDavid finds a streaking Darnell Nurse who puts his twelfth goal of the year behind Hutchinson! Oilers win! 3-2 in OT.
Oilers finish the season 3-5-1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.