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GAME PREVIEW: Game 25/56 Edmonton Oilers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

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Oilers look to salvage final game of three game series with Leafs

St. Louis Blues v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (14-10-0, 3rd in North) vs.

Toronto Maple Leafs (17-4-2, 1st in North)

03 March 2021

Rogers Place

6 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Pension Plan Puppets

ZERO, PART DEUX

The Oilers have now gone two complete games without scoring a single goal. Monday night’s game versus Toronto saw the Leafs hang three first period goals on the Oilers, the Oilers had 31 shots for relief goaltender Michael Hutchinson but no goals. Coach Tippett will scramble the lines today in an effort to shake things up and get some goals back into the lineup. Edmonton looks to salvage a win in the final game of this three-game series against the Leafs. Will tonight be the night that the goals return?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“When you get shutout a couple of games in a row, all options are open”

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Dave Tippett on reuniting the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins / Leon Draisaitl / Kailer Yamamoto line in practice yesterday.

There’s plenty of reason to believe that the 93-29-56 line won’t be as hot as they were last season, as they were on a heater for much of early 2020. They don’t need to be the perfect trio right now, they just need to get a goal. Maybe a couple of goals, I’m not greedy.

THE LEAFS ARE SAYING

“Coming out, when you’re playing the same team in these miniseries, it’s hard to beat a team twice in a row...For us to come out and battle like we did and get the result that we did, it was huge. It’s great to be able to celebrate with the boys with that win and just enjoy this moment”

Source

That’s Maple Leafs goaltender Michael Hutchinson after his club’s 3-0 win over the Oilers on Monday night.

It’s been nearly 70 years since the Leafs shutout the same team in consecutive games.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • The Oilers have done well on the top line throughout this year, but lots of things change when you haven’t scored a goal in over six straight periods. Despite their wild success last year, Coach was hesitant to put the band back together. There’s plenty to suggest that
  • James Neal was seen on the top line in practice yesterday, so your top six might look something like 18-97-13 and 93-29-56 tonight.
  • Alex Chiasson is out serving a one game suspension for a dangerous cross-check late in the game to Jimmy Vesey. Devin Shore was on the fourth line during practice yesterday. Look for Kyle Turris to make a return tonight as well.
  • POWER PLAY MASH-UP
  • For the Leafs, Auston Matthews might return to the lineup after missing the first two games in this three game series with an upper body injury.
  • NET GAINS: Look for MIke Smith to get another start tonight for the Oilers (6-1-0, .938 SV% / 1.87 GAA / 1 SO). Frederik Andersen looks to get the nod tonight (11-3-2, .905 SV% / 2.69) after missing time with a lower body injury.
  • DON’T LOOK BACK: The Oilers are on a two game losing streak, but they’ve conceded four points to the team they’re trying to chase in the standings. Toronto is on top by eight points right now, and the Oilers have ceded second place to the Winnipeg Jets. Edmonton is just three points ahead of Montréal, the Habs have three games in hand. Good thing Calgary stinks.
  • Edmonton will need a strong sixty minutes tonight. A win tonight keeps full blown panic at bay for a while. A loss will really turn up the heat prior to Saturday’s Battle of Alberta.