The Oilers will try to get back on track after dropping their last four games when they travel to Toronto on Wednesday night to take on the Maple Leafs.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Wednesday, January 05, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Scotiabank Arena
The Oilers had an unanticipated two-week break from the action due to postponements caused by the global pandemic. However, when they returned to the ice, they looked more rusty than rested. Edmonton dropped a 4-2 decision to the Blues and followed that with a 6-5 overtime setback to the Devils. Looking to rebound from those two road losses the Oilers found no solace on New Years Day when they skated into Long Island with high hopes but skated out with a 3-2 overtime defeat.
In their last performance, the Oilers took on the Rangers at Madison Square Garden and exited with a 4-1 loss, leaving them thus far winless on this five-game road trip that ends in Toronto tonight. Despite outshooting the Rangers, 34-28, and dominating in the faceoff circle, 34-21, New York played a far more physical brand of hockey, outhitting their guests, 29-12, and ultimately sending Edmonton to their fourth straight loss.
"I thought we did a lot of things well tonight," Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “Our goaltender wasn't very good, and we didn't find enough pucks at the net to get us back in the game. ... We haven't played as well as we'd like to as a group. There's lots to improve on.”
That sounds like two completely contrary thoughts coming out of Tippet’s mouth and unusual for a coach to point the finger directly at his goaltender. However, Mikko Koskinen was directly responsible for one of the goals after getting caught behind the net and having the puck stripped by Ryan Strome before he passed it in front of a waiting Alexis Lafrenière who tallied his eighth goal of the season.
Like all the Canadian teams, the Maple Leafs have not been exempt from the many postponements due to their government’s strict COVID-19 protocols. Nevertheless, they have won three straight and four of their last five contests. However, their last outing was undeniably their best when they blanked the Senators, 6-0, on New Years Day.
The legend of Jack Campbell continues to grow as the 29-year-old late bloomer turned aside all 23 Ottawa shots and is now leading the league with a 1.86 goals-against average as well as a gaudy .939 save percentage. Ilya Mikheyev netted his first and second goals of the season when he struck paydirt with a shorthanded bid and then notched a power-play goal in the final frame.
“It was an impressive game by the boys in front of me,” Campbell said. “They were playing super-fast and just doing everything coach talked about. Fun time out there and great to be back.”
Wanna Make a Bet?
These teams met in Edmonton two weeks ago and the Leafs claimed a 5-1 victory despite getting outshot, 36-25. Once again, Jack Campbell proved to be the ultimate equalizer and registered 35 saves while Auston Matthews lit the lamp twice in the victory.
The NHL odds at all of the top sportsbooks are showing the Maple Leafs as big favorites in this one and are all well north of -200 as of this writing. It’s difficult to make a case for the Oilers here as they are at the end of a spectacularly disappointing road trip due in large part to shoddy defense and goaltending. The Maple Leafs are a team that will thrive on that as they are ranked second in power-play success, scoring on 29 percent of their opportunities.
And while the Oilers boast the league’s top power-play percentage, tallying on over 30 percent of their man-advantage opportunities, they have gone 0-for-4 over their last four games. There is simply no good reason to back them against a streaking Toronto team that has had four days to prepare for this one. Lay the lumber on the home chalk here.
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