Game Preview: Leafs host Dallas Eakins’ Oilers

Game Preview: Leafs host Dallas Eakins’ Oilers

437

The Leafs face off against their third consecutive Western Conference opponent as Dallas Eakins, Keith and son Will Acton, and Mike Brown return to town on Hockey Night in Canada.

Edmonton is in a familiar place to start the season – last in the West. The Oilers have conceded at a 4.75 GA rate over their first four games, coming off of losses to Winnipeg and Vancouver by scores of 5-4 and 6-2. There is little mystery as to where this Edmonton team is dangerous (oodles of young offensive talent) and where they’re brittle (team defense/goaltending). It’s safe to say Eakins’ efforts to infuse some defensive structure and responsibility into the Oilers’ game are still very much in the work-in-progress stage.

Eakins will, however, have a pretty intimate understanding of the Leafs systems under Carlyle, which he worked to replicate on the Marlies team last season. Interestingly, before the season Eakins stated an intention to revamp the team’s defensive zone 5-on-5 systems to incorporate the collapsing system we’ve become familiar with under Carlyle. It seems Eakins assesses the Oilers, not unlike the the Leafs last season under Carlyle (at least in terms of team makeup), as having some strong offensive weapons and some capable puck moving defencemen, but lacking in big centermen and a strong shutdown capability to the defence. Ample support for the defence and goaltenders is going to have to come to fruition for the Oilers if they’re to take any sort of step forward this season.

The Leafs are rolling into tonight with a 4-1 record. If they haven’t always been convincing, Jonathan Bernier has, and the Leafs special teams have been excellent at both ends. The Leafs played a good game in Nashville save the first 10 minutes of the 2nd period. Those extended spells of no shots by the Leafs can certainly be frustrating to watch, but the Leafs have too much talent up front to be kept quiet for too long; in that regard, Edmonton should be ripe for the picking.

The best part about the Leafs’ 4-1 start, for me, is that I think the Leafs have plenty room for improvement. Offensively, their top 9 will be deadly once they get Kulemin and Clarkson back (more on that below). Defensively, there are some promising signs that the Leafs’ backend may start to turn potential into reality. Morgan Rielly won’t go without error as a 19-year-old cutting his teeth on an NHL blueline, but he’s looking heady beyond his years and is not shying away from physical contact (which he can handle, with a thick build for a teenager). Paul Ranger has been improving in recent games and put together his best performance of the young season in Nashville; his pairing alongside Jake Gardiner may be smoothing out the edges and establishing some chemistry. Chemistry may also be forming between Rielly and Cody Franson, who have both expressed an enjoyment for playing together, with Franson calling Rielly a “sponge” and Rielly praising Franson’s professionalism.

Tonight’s game will mark the 60% interval of David Clarkson’s time served. 10-game suspensions are pretty long, aren’t they? In any event, 4-1 is a good record no matter who you are, and it’s made the more promising given the absence of Clarkson and Kulemin. Hopefully no significant injuries occur between now and the end of October… who in Leafs Nation isn’t salivating at the prospect of adding Clarkson and Kulemin to the top 9 of this already potent team?

Matchup Details:

 
Leafs
Oilers
Record4-1-01-3-0
GF/G3.2 (11th)2.75 (16th)
GA/G2.0 (6th)4.75 (29th)
SF/G31.8 (13th)29.0 (21st)
SA/G34.8 (26th)31.0 (18th)
PP28.6% (3rd)25% (9th)
PK94.4% (3rd)73.3% (25th)
5 on 5 F/A1.12 (16th)0.50 (27th)


Leafs point scoring
| Oilers point scoring

Last Meeting:

277 comments
Potcy
Potcy

Hello Hot Stove!

Been a while I hope you are all doing as well as you were when I last came in here. 

 (shortly after the game that should not be discussed)

4-1 without playing our best and two very good wingers out of the lineup

Marlies looking good

can't complain at all right, unlike those who frequent another site :)

theacs1966
theacs1966

HOly crap, 9 points in 3 games!  Can we call up Brennen in time for the Leafs game?

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

I don't want this to be the Oilers' 'turn it around' game.

daniel marois
daniel marois

TJ Brennan has two goals so far in the Marlies game.  Not only leads the team in goals and points but the entire AHL! LOL....

Gardiner expendable ;)

Jordan29
Jordan29

Whats the lineup for tonight

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

Hiya Guys....just finished all my food prep for the two days of cooking I have ahead......absolutely beautiful day out today.....just sitting outside on the deck with a beer in one hand and a dube in the other.....playing some catch with the dog....don't wanna be disturbed when our Boys take to the ice......looking forward to a big Leafs win tonight!......GO LEAFS GO!!!  TAKE NO PRISONERS!!!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsfapAMAf_c


Burtonboy
Burtonboy

Bobo didn't look good on that one either 

Luke_R
Luke_R

Im expecting big games from Phaneuf, Raymond, bozak, lupul aka all the prarie boys.

Will it be enough to hold down the oil? Not too sure about tonight, the gut isnt cooperating lol 

gunner_36
gunner_36

Looks like I've got to head out to my wife's family dinner... at least there's turkey and the Leafs game on. I'll be here in spirit. Go Leafs Go!

Scottish Leaf
Scottish Leaf

Evening everyone, really hope we stick it on the Oilers tonight and if MegaJon or Optimus Reim are starting, here's hoping we can get a consecutive shutout. GO LEAFS GOOOOOOOOOOO!!

GreekGod
GreekGod

@Xxxxxnew 

it won't be. As long as we play hard and get in there faces the Leafs could walk away with a 5-1 score. Assuming Bernier is in net... ?

docyqx
docyqx

@wiski she's hot, he's NOT,..................NEXT !!!! LOL

djamon
djamon

@wiski Maybe she doesn't know she's a Bruins fan. I mean...can she even see the crest?

ingy56
ingy56

@wiski Yeah, really too bad dude, rockin' that look I'm sure you have plenty of other babes at your beck and call.

Luke_R
Luke_R

@daniel marois i would believe he is next in line for a callup say one of our d gets traded or injured

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@wiski Yea, saw that....promotion for new picture Carrie...very cool to see some of the customers' reactions.  :)


Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

I like the way he handles the puck around the crease. He makes it disappear. Trapezoid has cut way back on old school puck handling.

loomx
loomx

@Jmessih He's just solid and safe behind the net. You avoid a lot more trouble behind the net when he leaves the net rather than Reimer. 

Luke_R
Luke_R

@Jmessih hes clearly more comfortable out of the crease, and have there been any opportunities in his games to do quick ups? Usually thats when the puck isnt rifled too hard and the opposing team is caught changing... all timeing, im sure he's capable and we'll see it

Luke_R
Luke_R

@MegaJon i dont necessarily believe in jinx's but... youre layig with fire here , lol 

daniel marois
daniel marois

@lukethenuke @daniel marois 

Definetely next injury call-up for the blueline.  But I really want to see how MacWilliam would fare in NHL action.  Should be interesting how that shakes down when the opportunity comes along...

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@wiski @wendelsway1 One of my sons plays guitar....but one of his friends plays the drums that are currently in my basement.....neighbours love it when the Hubby and I go to the cottage and leave the boys at home...lol  :)