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Toronto Maple Leafs game preview: Matthews is back in Edmonton to prove why he’s best

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The Maple Leaf are riding high into Edmonton on a solid win over the Flames, while the Oilers are just in flames

Toronto Maple Leafs v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Oh boy, the Edmonton Oilers, whose rebuild began in 2010 when they finished last and drafted Taylor Hall, are ready to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose rebuild began in 2014 when Brendan Shanahan was brought onboard. The Maple Leafs are near the top of the league after only three seasons of work. The Oilers are...well, they’re a special bunch.

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Edmonton Oilers
9:00PM - ICE DISTRICT
TV: TSN4, Sportsnet West, TVA Sports
Radio: TSN1050 / Sportsnet590
SBN: Copper N Blue

Right now the Maple Leafs are riding high on top players William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and of course Auston Matthews. Those three are surrounded by legacy players from past regimes in James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, Morgan Rielly, and Jake Gardiner. They brought in Frederik Andersen to be a steady influence in net.

The Edmonton Oilers have Connor McDavid, Leon Draisital, and Oscar Klefbom with legacy Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall Adam Larsson, Jordan Eberle Ryan Strome , and big free agents like Milan Lucic and Kris Russell. They also have Cam Talbot in net who is up and down in his play.

The Maple Leafs currently sit sixth overall in the league, while the Oilers are all the way down in 29th. The Leafs built their front office based on reputation and previous experience while the Oilers focused mainly on players who once played for them and incompetence with the Bruins.

In their previous game the Toronto Maple Leafs handily defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1. They overpowered the top Albertan team, and came away with a clean victory. The Edmonton Oilers looked at their opponent - the last place Arizona Coyotes - and needed to come from a deficit in the third period, and then score in overtime to beat the lowly Coyotes. Clearly things are not going well for the team.

Also reporters in Toronto are mostly telling silly little stories about the players, and the Oilers reporters are trash talking former players and placing the blame for the Oilers demise on the shoulders of one of the best players in the world.

Let’s take a look at the Maple Leafs lines who will defeat the Oilers:

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Mitchell Marner
James van Reimsdyk - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov
Patrick Marleau - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Matt Martin - Dominic Moore - William Nylander

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Andreas Borgman - Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney

And the losing Oilers:

Milan Lucic - Connor McDavid - Jesse Puljujarvi
Patrick Maroon - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Anton Slepyshev
Drake Caggiula - Leon Draisaitl - Ryan Strome
Jujhar Khaira - Mark Letestu - Zack Kassian

Darnell Nurse - Adam Larsson
Oscar Klefbom - Matt Benning
Yohann Auvitu - Kris Russell

Cam Talbot - may be injured
Laurent Brossoit

Numbers Preview

Maple Leafs Team Devils
Maple Leafs Team Devils
265GF - 226GA - +29 Goal Differential 238GF - 234GA - +4
24.4% - 2nd overall Power Play 21.7 - 10th overall
81.3% - 12th overall Penalty Kill 81.9% - 7th overall
James van Riemsdyk - 36 Most Goals Taylor Hall - 39
Mitch Marner - 47 Most Assists Taylor Hall - 54
Mitch Marner - 69 Most Points Taylor Hall - 93
Matt Martin - 50 Most PM Miles Wood - 84
Jake Gardiner - 22:33/G TOI Leader Sami Vatanen - 22:42
Frederik Andersen - .917sv% Starting Goalie Keith Kincaid - .911sv%

The Maple Leafs are coming off a great win over Calgary, and hopefully things can carry over to a victory over the Oilers, so Edmontonians can continue their quest to rid themselves of McDavid. Possibly in exchange for good guy in the room Matt Martin.

A guy can dream....