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Updated Leafs vs. Oilers Preview: You Again

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Kris Russell and friends come to town looking for redemption.

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

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Edmonton Oilers: Game #31

Time: 7:00 PM EST

Location: Air Canada Centre

Broadcast/Streaming: Sportsnet

Opponent SBNation Site: Copper and Blue

Make your own awkward segue between oil and gasoline, I wanted to use this song for today’s pregame music, and I’m gonna do it.

You probably remember the Edmonton Oilers. We ran into them recently.

I love the title on the video. “Marleau’s lucky game-winner.” Yep! That’s one way to put it.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the Oilers. They’re a cool six points out of a playoff spot, and the hour is growing rather late to make a charge, but they’re trying. They put the boots to Montreal 6-2 last night, a favour I’m sure we’re very grateful for. But it’s time for us to clown these dudes again, and stretch our win streak to three.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews* - Connor Brown

Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner

Matt Martin - Dominic Moore - William Nylander

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev

Andreas Borgman - Roman Polak

Goaltenders

Curtis McElhinney

Frederik Andersen

*Auston Matthews is a game-time decision.

William Nylander barely played in the third period last night, as Mike Babcock aggressively chased matchups trying to counter the Crosby and Malkin lines in Pittsburgh. We got away with it, but barely; the Crosby line ate the Matthews line alive in shots and had a goal late.

Maybe it made sense last night—you can decide for yourself—but it’s tough to see a player of Nylander’s calibre buried with non-offensive players and then going almost unused. Hopefully Nylander is relatively fresh to take a bigger role tonight. If Matthews is out, he may have to.

The only change we’re expecting is Curtis McElhinney in for Freddie Andersen. I am totally unconcerned about playing our backup, yes sir.

Edmonton Oilers

Forward Lines

Milan Lucic - Connor McDavid - Jesse Puljujarvi

Patrick Maroon - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Michael Cammalleri

Nathan Walker - Leon Draisaitl - Anton Slepyshev

Jujhar Khaira - Mark Letestu - Zach Kassian

Defence Pairings

Darnell Nurse - Kris Russell

Oscar Klefbom - Matt Benning

Yohann Auvitu - Eric Gryba

Goaltenders

Laurent Broissoit

Nick Ellis

The disparity between the quality of the centres and the quality of the wingers in this lineup is insane. Any team would be lucky to be able to run those top three Cs, and then pretty much every top nine winger is being played at least one line too high. Puljujarvi is going to be cool pretty soon, though.

Look, the Oilers have an almost comical number of roster holes, but they do have the best player on Earth and three or four really good supporting pieces. I thought they would be much better than this and I still think they’re better than their record, though Cam Talbot being bad and then hurt is a big part of that, and he’s still out. The Oilers apparently prefer to start Laurent Brossoit on consecutive nights rather than play Nick Ellis; Brossoit had a relatively easy evening yesteday, so that’s part of it.

Still, if Toronto isn’t ready to play, this is the kind of team that can hang a ton of goals on them in a hurry. Ask the Habs.

Go Leafs Go!