Toronto Maple Leafs at Edmonton Oilers
Watch on: Hockey Night in Canada at 7PM
Opponent’s site: The Copper and Blue
The time last I’d paid attention to the Oilers was at the beginning of the season when they were doing surprisingly good, considering they’re still, y’know, the Oilers. After checking out their recent games though I’m excited to share that the Oilers of yore appear to have made their grim return. The team has lost four of their last five games, and are currently on a three-game losing skid. As well, McDavid has played over 24 minutes in three of the Oilers’ last five games and Draisaitl is hitting similar numbers, playing over 23 minutes in three of the last five. They’re both having characteristically ridiculous seasons, which helps explain the high TOI, but is still a yikes from me. That said, keeping them in check is going to be one of the Leafs’ major challenges for the night – especially since we’re now without noted stifling-Connor-McDavid connoisseur Nazem Kadri.
For the Leafs, the bottom six has shuffled considerably since Thursday’s collapse again the Calgary Flames. Trevor Moore’s status is still TBC, but based on his taking line rushes in practice yesterday, and Nic Petan being loaned back to the Marlies, it’s looking pretty likely that we’ll finally see him returning to the lineup tonight. Gauthier is also returning to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for four games straight, which is a bit of a surprise considering what Keefe had to say about him on Thursday. Spezza and Aberg, on the other hand, will be sitting this one out.
Keefe on what Frederik Gauthier can do to get back in the #Leafs lineup: "There's not a lot that he can do frankly. He was playing fine before, we're just getting looks at different things, we're trying to see what the other possibilities might be for our group."— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) December 12, 2019
The top six and defensive pairings look to be staying the same. Words truly cannot express how much I do not want to spend another game watching Kapanen on the Matthews-Nylander line but I guess that’s what we’re going with, despite all evidence that points to this being a combination that does. not. work. Who knows though. Maybe they’ll suddenly, spontaneously, develop some chemistry and make me look completely foolish and overly pessimistic (please).
Bright side: Tavares and Marner have been killing it lately, and are definitely feeling themselves about it.
Marner on how well he and Tavares are playing now: "We've been good all year to be honest. Everyone just keeps talking about the start. No one cares about it anymore, it's done with, I'm over it, so is he. Our team needs to be better every night. We want to help our team win."— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) December 13, 2019
Go get ‘em, Mitch.
Maple Leafs Lines
Based on yesterday’s lines at practice
Kasperi Kapanen - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Pierre Engvall - Alexander Kerfoot - Ilya Mikheyev
Trevor Moore - Frederik Gauthier - Jason Spezza
Morgan Rielly - Tyson Barrie
Travis Dermott - Cody Ceci
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Edmonton Oilers Lines
via Jack Michaels
Leon Draisaitl - Connor McDavid - Zack Kassian
Markus Granlund - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Alex Chiasson
James Neal - Gaetan Haas - Sam Gagner
Jujhar Khaira - Riley Sheahan - Josh Archibald
Darnell Nurse - Ethan Bear
Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson
Kris Russell - Caleb Jones