Given the state of the world around us, you don’t want to complain in any capacity about having hockey to watch.

It’s certainly better than nothing, although it was unfortunate to watch a Connor McDavid-less Edmonton Oilers team visit a Scotiabank Arena with no fans in the building for Zach Hyman’s return.

This game certainly had that kind of energy (or lack thereof) — there was very little in it from an emotional standpoint. It was played fairly loosely on the whole, with each team giving up some rather curious odd-man rushes that we wouldn’t exactly expect from NHL teams in January.

Nobody is going to paint this game and frame it, but a win is a win.

Your game in 10:

1.  This was the Leafs’ second game since December 14 (the game where they beat the Oilers 5-1), and they were playing Edmonton without their best player. Consequently, it was pretty loose and sloppy to start the game. JPP almost broke in on a breakaway to start the game before Slater Koekkoek walked right in all alone (Campbell easily stopped it), and yet it was the Leafs that scored first on a bit of a lucky bounce.

Even after the Leafs scored, Edmonton controlled the next shift, including Darnell Nurse walking in untouched for a pretty good chance that he fired wide. Pretty soon after, the Oilers were up 2-1.

2.  This is a bigger picture struggle for the Leafs – they have barely played for nearly a month, and those two games were *these* Oilers and a 6-0 destruction of the Ottawa Senators. It’s difficult to stay sharp in these situations, all while we watch the games in the U.S. go ahead as planned with reasonably-full arenas. That’s a huge difference.

It’s hard for this team to get into a flow state right now until they can start stringing together games with regularity as opposed to wondering every single day if they are going to play. They can’t use it as an excuse, but it is simply a reality of the current landscape.

3.  Without McDavid in the game, the Leafs understandably used the Matthews line as the primary matchup against Leon Draisaitl along with the Rielly – Brodie pairing. The Hyman unit without McDavid was really not much of a factor. The Rielly – Brodie pairing also played a ton against them, and the Tavares line received a healthy dose against them up front.

At home with no McDavid, the Leafs were easily able to gain favourable matchups in this one. At one point in the second period, the Spezza line got caught out there against the Draisaitl line, Spezza recognized it immediately, and he headed right off for Matthews.

4.  At first blush, I didn’t love the step up from Rasmus Sandin in the neutral zone prior to the Oilers’ first goal of the night, but after a second review, there were teammates who should have been supporting him. Plus, the Leafs are generally aggressive with their defensemen in the neutral zone, so I’m guessing that’s how they tell them to play.

Nick Ritchie was completely caught watching the play instead of figuring out who he should be covering before getting burned to the net. If you aren’t scoring, you are falling asleep in the coverage, and you aren’t even physical along the way, you’re going to make the decision for the coaching staff as to who should be a healthy scratch when the team is fully healthy.

5.  The Oilers tying the game didn’t exactly send a jolt through the Leafs’ lineup; Edmonton promptly got the puck back in the offensive zone and scored a little over a minute after tying the game to take the lead.

The Leafs were a bit confused on the Leon Draisaitl goal that followed – Mitch Marner was originally skating across the defensive zone with Kailer Yamamoto, so it appeared as if TJ Brodie thought he was going to stay with him. Marner didn’t and Brodie wasn’t covering him, so Yamamoto broke free, a little 2v1 developed down low, and Morgan Rielly was caught in no man’s land (and played the 2v1 as such). It was an easy goal for an elite goal scorer in Draisaitl.

6.  Those two, TJ Brodie and Mitch Marner, actually ended up making up for the goal at the end of the period. Brodie was technically credited for the goal, but it was Marner who went to the net and helped to create the traffic that led to the goal.

That’s a four-game point streak now for Brodie, who is up to 11 points on the season in 31 games (he recorded 14 in 56 last season). We know he’s not here to put up points, but when you play that many minutes on a high-end team, you really should come up with some level of production (this is part of the conversation we’ve had about Justin Holl this season).

7.  The second period was nondescript to the point I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to write out 10 points. Most notably, Mitch Marner hit the post (and the goal horn promptly went off), followed by Ryan McLeod essentially passing up what should have been an empty-net finish for him (coming off a bad miscommunication between Jake Muzzin and David Kampf).

To cap it off, William Nylander went on a partial breakaway with about a minute left, looked like he ran out of space, and simply did his best to get a good shot off. There was very, very little substance to this game.

8.  If the second period was slow, the start to the third period was a whirlwind. William Nylander drove the net on the second shift of the period and almost potted a goal (Willy was dangerous all game). The puck found him again in the high slot and he fired it wide on the same shift. Draisaitl then had a shift with two straight odd-man rushes where he kept and shot for both, with Jack Campbell standing tall. Auston Matthews then beat a flat-footed Duncan Keith easily, but he was unable to put it home. Zach Hyman also manufactured a good net drive where it sounded like he hit the post on the play.

9.  So far, Ilya Mikheyev is making good on his power-play time. He scored on the power play for a second straight game, taking him up to three goals in three games so far this season. He scored seven all of last season. It was a rolling puck and Mike Smith was ridiculously deep in his net, but you take them any way you can especially considering how snakebitten he was all of last season.

In the first period, Mikheyev walked in and snapped a puck that caught Smith high and seemed to jolt him – even though he didn’t score, that shot was a bit more impressive to me. It really had some zip behind it, which is not something he was doing last season (a rolling puck, like the one on his goal, is really a toss-up when you shoot it).

10.  Alex Kerfoot had a chance to ice the game a little early on a breakaway but hit the post. It did not matter, though.

Edmonton was able to set up in the offensive zone with the goalie pulled and Evan Bouchard did get a nice point shot off through traffic that Jack Campbell stood tall on. With the goalie pulled, Kerfoot did well to beat out Bouchard on a race for icing. Hyman almost scored on a rebound a little afterward, but the guy who could have iced it with Smith in net, Kerfoot, ended up being the one to score an empty netter to ice it anyway.

Game Highlights: Leafs 4 vs. Oilers 2

Game Flow: 5v5 Shot Attempts

Heat Map: 5v5 Shot Attempts