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G25: Leafs @ Oilers - DRY Reunited

March 3, 2021, 4:18 PM ET [38 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Two games. Two loses. Through these two games versus the Leafs Edmonton has been outscored 7-0. What was supposed to be an opportunity for the Oilers to see how they matchup against the first place Leafs has so far been a resounding failure. Without their starting goaltender or top player in Auston Matthews, the Leafs have dominated and frustrated the Oilers. Right now Toronto is certainly showing they are the better team.

While it's been disappointing it shouldn't be all doom and gloom for Oilers fans. In game one the Oilers produced 23 scoring chances to the Leafs 20 and 14 HDCF to the Leafs 6. In game two Edmonton had 21 scoring chances to the Leafs 16 and 8 HDCF to Toronto's 5. Edmonton has produced chances in these games but simply haven't found a way to get them into the back of the net. Meanwhile they have been far too loose in their own end and especially in the first period last game had no help from their goaltender.

Tonight sees Dave Tippett finally going back to a line that fans have wanted since the playoffs last season, with RNH, Draisaitl, and Yamamoto back together. This trio was dominate for the second half of last season. With no goals in their last two games Dave Tippett is clearly looking for a boost.

OILERS LINE COMBINATIONS

Neal – McDavid – Puljujarvi
RNH – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Ennis – Khaira – Archibald
Nygard – Haas – Russell

Nurse – Bear
Russell – Barrie
Jones – Larsson

Smith

LEAFS LINE COMBINATIONS

Thornton – Tavares – Marner
Babanov – Kerfoot – Nylander
Hyman – Engvall – Mikheyev
Vesey – Spezza – Boyd

Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Dermott – Bogosian

Andersen

4 GAME THOUGHTS

1.) Like Riding A Bike -
Fans have been waiting to see RNH reunited with Draisaitl and Yamamoto for some time. While it's unreasonable to expect them to score 2+ goals a game as they were before the Oilers need them to find chemistry fast and force the Leafs to play their top unit against them.

2.) 2nd Line Connor - From a total skill matchup the RNH Drai and Yam line are the Oilers top line and should expect the toughest assignments. That should open at least some ground for McDavid and Puljujarvi to steal some easier matchups.

3.) Bear and Nurse Return - Tyson Barrie with Nurse is far too chaotic for my liking and I think it's a smart move to have Bear back up on the top pair with Darnell. That duo has been the Oilers best option at 5 on 5.

4.) Continued Smith Success -
Lost in the fact that Koskinen allowed 3 goals on 10 shots was the fact that Smith stopped all 13 shots he faced. Toronto did not need to push the envelope as much with a 3 goal lead but Smith played well once again and hopefully can continue that tonight.
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