The Edmonton Oilers entered the fifth and final game of their road trip winless (0-2-2), they were facing an uphill battle against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Oilers had to play this one shorthanded, as McDavid, Ryan and Barrie all tested positive for COVID-19 prior to tonight’s game. It was also announced that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would miss the next 3-4 weeks with an undisclosed injury. However, the team received some reinforcements in the form of Mike Smith and Zack Kassian.
The adjusted lineup looked like this:
It was also Zach Hyman’s return to Toronto.
Zach waving to an empty arena upon his first return to his former team. Mans is a comedian. pic.twitter.com/dr5DafkMNl— Kennedy (@kennedystrash) January 6, 2022
Well, when it rains it pours in Edmonton. William Nylander’s errant shot goes off the boards and then off Mike Smith’s foot. 1-0 Leafs on the fluke. Sixth time in the last seven games that the Oilers have given up the first goal before the 6-minute mark of the game, and the 21st time in the last 25 games that they’ve given up the first overall. Poor start, again.
Mikko Koskinen: I can’t score goals— David Dwork (@DavidDwork) January 6, 2022
Mike Smith: pic.twitter.com/QnhdzTrxJT
After getting dominated for 10 straight minutes, the Oilers find a way to break through. Colton Sceviour beats the Leafs’ d-man to the loose puck in a corner and finds Perlini in the slot, and he tucks one in the top shelf. 1-1.
vroom. #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/eYHlVaQsGd— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 6, 2022
And suddenly, the Oilers top line takes over. Kailer Yamamoto patiently finds Leon Draisaitl in front for a tap-in, and Edmonton finds the unlikely lead. 2-1.
The @NHL's leading scorer doing @NHL leading scorer things. #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/2hZ9nuWqpA— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 6, 2022
After withstanding a brief stretch of Edmonton pressure, Toronto scores with 27 seconds left. A point shot bounces off Bouchard, Marner and Nurse before finding the back of the net. Tough late one to give up. 2-2 into the break.
hockey talk ft. zach hyman is the best pic.twitter.com/RYgAiF78HG— zach laing (@zjlaing) January 6, 2022
The first penalty of the night goes against David Kampf, who trips up Tyler Benson behind the Toronto net. The mix and matched unit is missing a combined 45 powerplay points from McDavid, RNH and Barrie. The PP unit gets a few decent opportunities but are unable to score.
Edmonton returns the favour, as Koekkoek trips up Bunting in front of the net. The Oilers effective road PK is able to kill it off.
Billdozer. #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/272NoK0HGG— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 6, 2022
Ryan McLeod absolutely undresses the Leafs, but passes up on an open shot for the pass to Puljuljarvi who was unable to score. The young centre had a wide open net available to him.
Jack Campbell with a backwards diving save pic.twitter.com/GmSiG1MaPr— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 6, 2022
The third frame was relatively tame, both teams trying to avoid taking a major mistake – that is, until Bouchard took a needless tripping call midway through the period. Ilya Mikheyev jumps on a failed clear and pots one past Mike Smith. 3-2 Leafs on the PPG.
Edmonton mounts a valiant effort while shorthanded, but were unable to break through after Toronto’s third period powerplay goal and go on to drop their fifth straight game. The Oilers only have one game in the next 14 days, so plenty of time to get healthy and make some changes. We shall see.