Toronto Maple Leafs at Edmonton Oilers: Game number 22
Time: 9:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: I think it’s called Southlands Coliseum.
Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN (JIP), SNW, TSN4
Opponent SBNation Site: Copper and Blue
The last time the Leafs played the Oilers was the epic saga of Connor vs Nazem, and the good guys won. Poor McDavid played a lot of minutes, and the whole plan to out fox the line master Babcock blew up in the Oilers faces.
Of course, this being the Leafs, they gave up a lead in the third period and had to win it in overtime, but that was the beautiful Kardri goal that took out the referee for added sweetness.
Since then, the Oilers have made a few changes. Jesse Puljujärvi is coming along with four points in his last five game, and he played the last game with McDavid and Milan Lucic.
Drake Caggiula is over his injury, has made his NHL debut, and has two assists in his first five games.
The Oilers are first in the Pacific Division after a very up and then very down start to the season, and they have a very good goal differential, but have only two more regulation or overtime wins than the Leafs.
And while Frederik Andersen has clawed his way up to nearly league average in save percentage, Cam Talbot is a bit ahead of him.
This is the truth of it. The Oilers are a bit ahead of the Leafs in a lot of things. They had more toys on the shelf when the ownership changed up the management; they have a number one centre with a little bit more experience after playing part of a year last year, and they are ahead of the Leafs on filling in their roster with people they chose for specific skills for specific tasks.
The answer to this situation is obvious. The Leafs need to really beat them. Lots of goals. All the goals. It absolutely can happen.
Projected lines from the most recent practice for the Leafs and most recent game for the Oilers:
Toronto Maple Leafs
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Connor Brown
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner
Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Nikita Soshnikov
Matt Martin - Ben Smith - William Nylander
Morgan Rielly - Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak
Milan Lucic - Connor McDavid - Jesse Puljujärvi
Patrick Maroon - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Benoit Pouliot - Leon Draisaitl - Drake Caggiula
Tyler Pitlick - Mark Letestu - Zack Kassian
Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera - Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse - Matthew Benning
That’s an interesting Leafs lineup, isn’t it? William Nylander is coming off of an injury that saw him miss the last game, and Nikita Soshnikov was lights out in that game, so it’s hard to see pulling him off the Kadri line as likely. Connor Brown or Nylander on the fourth line? Either way, they should match up very favourably with the Oilers depth. And Matt Martin is on a two-game goal streak after all.
We’ll know many hours from now how this will all shake out, but in the meantime, Go West, Leafs, and conquer the Oilers again.