Game Preview: Leafs host Dallas Eakins’ Oilers

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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:

 LeafsOilers
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:

  • rustynail

    TheCanucksnaphook pass

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/scottcwheelerhttps://twitter.com/scottcwheeler/status/388885104715497472
    https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Leafs&src=hash prospect Connor Brown’s 2 point night has him first in OHL scoring, he’s been unbelievable.

  • Doorman

    5-0 Leafs!!!  A shit load of Points tonight!!!

    GO LEAFS GO!!!

  • Doorman

    TheCanucksnaphook Doorman Just Jump and end it now!!!  Dont want to see you suffer and become delusional!!!  Maybe you should move to Colorado!!!  Lol

  • Komas Taberle

    Doorman 6-1 Leafs, Kessel with the hat trick!

  • rustynail

    Leafs 9-3

  • Doorman

    Shift_Disturber1 Higher please!!!

  • rustynail

    TheCanucksnaphook rustynail working?

  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks, everyone having a good Saturday ?

  • Doorman

    TheCanucksnaphook Mind Bomb Take him with ya!!!  lol

  • JWasted

    rustynail Is he taking advantage of the shadow McDavid creates?

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Mind Bomb Morning MB…just some yard chores today, hockey practice at 5 then game time here.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Doorman I’ve seen this prediction before :)

  • Doorman

    ingy56 Mind Bomb I thought you would be out pushing Watch Tower shit today!!!  Lol

  • Mind Bomb

    TheCanucksnaphook Mind Bomb Hhahahha, its not like I cant be one on them on any given day, But not today, our D looked better last game, so I am calm, anticipating Reimer getting a Shut out tonight 
    7-0 Leafs

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Doorman ingy56 Mind Bomb I met my quota for the week already hahaha….

  • Doorman

    ingy56 Doorman It,s the first time for me!!!  Must be somebody else!!!  lol

  • Mind Bomb

    Doorman TheCanucksnaphook Mind Bomb HE is to active an individual for me lol, If I took him he would make me clean Stalls, play Golf without a Cart, seriously who does that !
    :))))))))

  • Mind Bomb

    ingy56 Mind Bomb Morning Ingy. I was not out of Bed 2 minutes, before. Can you get me a Tea, I want Donuts, the ladies have already had me out to Timmies, a Demanding Lot today

  • Mind Bomb

    Doorman ingy56 Mind Bomb Oh all along the Watchtower ? Best remake ever !

  • Mind Bomb

    Doorman ingy56 Hmm something Fishy with that Picture !

    P

  • Spayde_D

    TheCanucksnaphook Doorman Though I doubt that you picking the Leafs to lose every game is serious it reminds me of something. I never understood people who bet against the Leafs for money. They would say some line about being “realistic” but then they are bound to cheer for that other team. 
    It’s partly the reason I don’t play Fantasy anymore. If I have a Johnathan Quick and the other team has Bernier… Well, somewhere inside I am hoping the Leafs get shelled. 
    I don’t understand why anyone would want a routing interest in another team… basically.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Mind Bomb ingy56 Head out for tea and Timbits, come back at 6:30…peace and quiet for the game lol.

  • Doorman

    Spayde_D TheCanucksnaphook Doorman Your in one of my Leagues!!!  You had better be Playing!!!  lol

  • Spayde_D

    Doorman Spayde_D TheCanucksnaphook I meant for money lol. When its fun I don’t mind.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    rustynail I thought we didn’t have any skilled prospects?

  • Doorman

    Im doing Thanks Giving today!!!  Got a 19 lb butterball to get ready!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving to MLHS Gang!!!  GO LEAFS GO!!!

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ KingKadri

    TheCanucksnaphook Reminds me of a drill we used to do in rugby. One on One see who can get past the other guy. Would have laughed to see Broll in that drill

  • Mind Bomb

    ingy56 Mind Bomb Oh I put my Foot down when we met, Saturdays are Drinking and Hockey, we gather at My Friends house every saturday.  Its one of the reasons I am still married lol

  • Jay_Berg

    We still lack forwards with top 6 potential. Brown didn’t show up in the rookie tournament. Not to be a downer but he plays with the next Crosby and is older then most the guys he’s playing against. Still nice to see but there’s no guarantee that any of this will translate down the road.

  • Loric76

    https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/389035612851810304
    Jonathan Bernier not taking part in today’s morning skate. Expected to make third straight start tonight against Edmonton.

  • Loric76

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/389035762894663680
    Optional skate for Leafs; Bernier not taking part & is expected to start v Oilers, who he’s 2-0 v in his career (56/58)

  • Cameron19

    Loric76 Well deserved. Don’t really understand going back to Reimer at this very moment. He will get his chance.

  • Loric76

    Cameron19 Loric76 once this western swing is over he will.  No sense sitting Bernier when he has more experience against western teams

  • Cameron19

    Loric76 Cameron19 Exactly.  i think this is the scenario management was hoping for – Bernier grabbing the bull by the horns early on, against Western teams, and hopefully Reimer coming on strong when we focus on some Easter teams later this month.

  • Jay_Berg

    You mean like ottawa? Oh….

  • Loric76

    Cameron19 Loric76 yup.  I think we were all worried that Bernier would be handed the job, but at least so far he’s earned it outright.  It’s going to be a good battle this season.

  • Loric76

    Jay_Berg meh, one game.  Bernier will have his off nights too.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/389038090859200512
    Frazer McLaren joining teammates at this morning’s optional skate. Placed on LTIR in mid-Sept., McLaren is eligible to return any time now.

  • Jay_Berg

    I know I’m just kidding

  • Mind Bomb

    ingy56 Wish it was Kulie instead lol

  • WendelGilmour

    Morning, boys. Anyone know if Leivo is playing again tonight? I would still like to see Lups – Kadri – Leivo at least for a look. Not a knock on Broll, he did his job.

  • Cameron19

    Loric76 Cameron19 Yep. I had a feeling going into that Ottawa game that Reimer was going to finally slip up against them.  He’s been so unreal against them, it seemed he was due a bad outting, and lo and behold….

  • Mind Bomb

    WendelGilmour Morning WG, I have not seen the Lines as yet. If he is in, Leivo Pots one tonight !

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Mind Bomb ingy56 I agree…home and home with the Sabres coming up in a few weeks, as long as McLaren’s good to go for then I’ll be happy.

  • Loric76

    Cameron19 Loric76 all your fault with the negative thoughts lol

  • WendelGilmour

    Mind Bomb WendelGilmour Morning, MB. I thought Leivo played well, he seems to be able to find the open spots.

  • Loric76

    ingy56 Mind Bomb Clarkson will be back for that one too…I bet half the team will be watching to make sure he stays on the bench this time lol

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Loric76 ingy56 Mind Bomb Carlyle has a mild taser ready to go.

  • Loric76

    ingy56 Loric76 Mind Bomb and Orr and McLaren have the tie down straps.  Either he stays on the bench or he takes it with him over the boards lol