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Game preview: Maple Leafs head to Edmonton; will try to smuggle Connor home

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This hockey game is just a cover for a rescue operation.

Edmonton Oilers v Toronto Maple Leafs
I got you man! I won’t let you stay behind!
Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs: Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is simple. Go to the Rogers Arena, home of the Edmonton Oilers, and rescue one of the Greater Toronto Area’s favourite sons; Connor McDavid. It will be a difficult mission, you won’t be able to gain access to him via conventional means. He’ll be kept hidden and out of sight until 7:00PM Eastern Standard Time / 5:00PM Mountain Standard Time. There will be a heavy media presence. If you, let Connor go / get caught by the hired goons the Oilers pay off to act as referees, your failure will be shown world wide on the CBC, Sportsnet, NHL Network, NHL Live, CBC.ca, the world will hear you fail on Sportsnet Radio and TSN Radio, and on the website CopperandBlue.com.

We’ve been watching you lately, and though there was a stumble in Vancouver, it’s not something you can’t recover from. Extremely successful missions in Calgary and in protecting Toronto from the Sabres have given us reason to put our faith in you for this mission. Standout agents such as Nic Petan and Tyler Ennis have been crucial as of late. The possible return of Oilers favourite target Nazem Kadri will distract everyone from the other operatives.

You’re opponent has had a strong showing of late. They were able to defeat the Canucks, where you came so close, but couldn’t, they helped to hold off the Blue Jackets from their mission to get into the playoffs but struggled to hold off the Sabres.

Assemble your men, and get prepared. Tonight is your last chance this year to do what the hockey world needs you to do.

Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Andreas Johnsson - Auston Matthews - Kasperi Kapanen
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - William Nylander
Tyler Ennis - Nic Petan/Frederik Gauthier - Connor Brown

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Muzzin - Nikita Zaitsev
Martin Marincin - Igor Ozhiganov

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen
Garret Sparks

This is a good group you’ve assembled. Now Federik Gauthier is ill, but eager to participate. He may be a last minute addition to and new kid Petan could be the one relegated to the sidelines.

Edmonton Oilers

Forward Lines

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Connor McDavid - Zack Kassian
Alex Chiasson - Leon Draisaitl - Sam Gagner
Milan Lucic - Colby Cave - Josh Currie
Tobias Rieder - Kyle Brodziak - Jujhar Khaira

Defence Pairings

Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse - Kris Russell
Andrej Sekera - Matt Benning

Goaltenders

Mikko Koskinen
Anthony Stolarz

The Oilers know we’re coming for them, that’s the only reason to put Zack Kassian on McDavid’s wing. You need to keep your speed up, if you get caught by Milan Lucic, he’s still capable of pain, but realistically he shouldn’t be able to catch any of you.


Here are some relevant things you should know about your opponent:

Round one vs Boston Bruins

Toronto Team Boston
Toronto Team Boston
3-2 Record 2-3
14GF - 14GA Goal Differential 14GF - 14GA
27.3% - 5th Power Play 35.7% - 2nd
64.3% - 15th Penalty Kill 72.7% - 12th
Auston Matthews - 4 Most Goals Bergeron, Krejci, Pastrnak, Marchand, Coyle - 2
Morgan Rielly - 4 Most Assists Brad Marchand - 4
Auston Matthews - 5 Most Points Brad Marchand - 6
Nazem Kadri - 19 Most PM Charlie McAvoy - 6
Morgan Rielly - 24:34/G TOI Leader Charlie McAvoy - 16
Frederik Andersen - .925sv% Starting Goalie Tuukka Rask - .922sv%

The Oilers are especially weak when out manned. Making this happen is a priority tonight. The more you can score against Edmonton, the more you lower Connor’s will to stay in the city. This is a key stat for him. If you can lower his will power enough, he’ll be an easy target to sneak out of town.

This is a mission of utmost important Maple Leafs. Everyone in the hockey world is looking to you to come out successful.

Good luck.