Tonight Edmonton wraps up a three game series between the Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. So far, the Oilers have been outscored 7-0 and generally outclassed by a shorthanded Leafs squad. This series, which was hyped to be a battle for first place, has been nothing of the sort. The Oilers are looking for a better effort and a big win tonight.
There’s a few changes to the lineup tonight:
Notably, Dave Tippett finally responded to every fans major want: the DRY line is back together. Kahun subs out with an injury while James Neal takes his spot in the Top 6, and Kyle Turris and Joakim Nygard draw in on the first and fourth lines, respectively.
Here we go.
The new look second line starts strong in their first shift, with Nuge coming close to potting one early. The third line, with Khaira, Ennis and Archibald, continues to be strong in the first period of this game. On the other end of the ice, Auston Matthews returned for Toronto tonight and made his presence felt early, bouncing a rocket off the crossbar in his second shift of the game.
Jimmy Vesey comes off the bench and avoids all Oilers defenders, potting home his second of the year. 1-0 Leafs. Toronto is outscoring Edmonton 6-0 in the first period in this series.
Some bad blood may have trickled over from the previous game as well, with Archibald and Dermott renewing hostilities and Larsson taking multiple runs at John Tavares. Could be more rough stuff to come, and hopefully that wakes the rest of the Oilers up (beyond the second line).
Yamamoto has dealt with a few issues so far tonight: first he tried to catch a slap shot, and then in a much scarier situation, took Draisaitl’s skate to the face. Thankfully, he only has a sore hand and a bloody nose.
Period ends 1-0 Leafs. Shots are 10-9 for the bad guys, too.
This period, and the “body language” of some, drew the ire of the noble Mark Spector... to some discussion.
That's some bad body language by Draisaitl, slamming stick and looking skyward as he leaves the ice.— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) March 4, 2021
Not a prefered reaction by a leader.
And early on, a horrible change by the Oilers turns into an odd man rush and a 2-0 lead for the Leafs. Jimmy Vesey, who hadn’t scored in 17 games, now has two tonight. Ugly goal against for the Oilers, who once again don’t seem to have it tonight. More than half a game to go.
And six seconds into the first powerplay of the game, John Tavares roofs one past Mike Smith. Totally discombobulated in the defensive zone right now, and it’s 3-0 Toronto. Three games in a row, the Oilers allow a goal on the first powerplay of the game.
Oilers can’t catch a break in the Leafs zone, with no bounces go the good guys’ way, and another bad bounce in the slot turns into a Leaf goal. Mikheyev scores to make it 4-0. Edmonton has given up on this one, are now getting outscored in the series 11-0.
Ethan Bear’s tough night continues, as the Oilers d-man is now off the box for holding. A few good chances for the Leafs, but no goals against.
Out-shot, out-hit, out-worked. But...
The Oilers have outhit Toronto 85-46 so far in this three game series. It's done them precisely zero good.— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) March 4, 2021
Right on cue, RNH pots one home off a rebound from Draisaitl. The Oilers first goal of the series. 4-1 Leafs.
While that goal injected a little life in this sorry Oilers squad, a perplexing missed call in the Toronto zone (Tavares hook on Ennis that dragged him down?), Nylander scores on a patient play in the Oilers zone. Who did he drag it around? A diving Kris Russell, flailing uselessly along the ice. 5-1 for Toronto. And alas, the whistles aren’t entirely away, as Nygard gets two for tripping at the end of the period. The Oilers will begin the third on the penalty kill.
Not much to report in this period. Hyman takes a shot from Smith, regarding the latter’s everlasting hatred of the former from last game. Two minutes for roughing to the big goaltender. Smith is able to kill his own penalty with multiple incredible saves.
Hyman scores on an RNH penalty. Defence once again refuses to take sticks in front of the net. 6-1 Toronto.
A few notes from tonight:
- Team looks lost. No one is setting the tone with offence, defence or effort. Star players are frustrated.
- How did the refs not call a single penalty against Toronto?
- Oilers may need to look at trade targets if they think their season is worth fighting for, or look at some of their players who could get some value.
- I’m obviously worried about Connor and his spirits.
Connor McDavid is on a 3-game pointless drought for just the 3rd time in his career.— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) March 4, 2021
He had 3-game skids on Dec 29, 2017-Jan 2, 2018 &
Oct 18-22, 2019