With a date with the Vancouver Canucks awaiting the Leafs on Saturday, a win tonight in Edmonton seems like the Leafs best shot at picking up some points on their Western road trip and avoiding a disastrous six game losing streak at a crucial point in the season.
The Leafs were in a much different position the last time they played (and beat) the Oilers, and that was just a week and a half ago. A 6-3 win over Edmonton at home capped off a 5-0-1 stretch in which the Leafs outscored their opposition 23-10. The Leafs have lost four straight by a collective score of 16-5 since.
Fortunately, the Leafs seem to match up well with the Oilers based on their meeting last Monday. It will be interesting to see what adjustments are made by the home team as the Oilers willingly entered a wide open game of traded chances, a style that suited Toronto’s speedy transition game just fine. The Leafs weren’t perfect defensively either, but scored six in a convincing offensive display.
The book will be out on how to solve the Leafs; slow them down and make them fight for space and scoring chances, and if you can do that the goals will come at the other end. Whether Edmonton has the experience and defensive strength to make that adjustment remains to be seen. Not helping the Leafs’ cause as they look to get their speed Â game clicking again is that they’re playing as the tired team coming off of last night’s loss to Calgary. The Leafs are 1-5-1 when tired and playing a rested opponent.
James Mirtle is guessing that James Reimer will get the start while Armstrong and Aulie will both figure into the lineup tonight.
On the out of town scoreboard, Leafs Nation will be hoping for a Boston win over Montreal and a Florida win over Ottawa. The most important part of Sens/Panthers matchup is that it doesn’t end up a three point game.
From The Score:
Toronto posted a 6-3 win over the visiting Oilers on Feb. 6 and the Leafs will try to complete the season series sweep tonight. Kessel scored twice and added an assist in the previous win for the Maple Leafs, who have taken two straight and three of four from the Oilers. Toronto has also won three of four and four of its last six games in Edmonton.
The Oilers, who are 14 points out of a playoff spot in the West, ended a two- game slide in their last game and have posted a solid 5-2-1 record over their last eight trips to the ice.
Edmonton has also won three straight on home ice to improve its record as the host to 15-8-3. Tonight’s test kicks off a three-game homestand for the Oilers, who will also welcome Colorado and Vancouver before the week is done.