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Oilers look to end skid vs. Maple Leafs

Sportsnaut
Dec 3, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA;  Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) and defenseman Kris Russell (6) celebrate a goal by during the third period at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 3, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) and defenseman Kris Russell (6) celebrate a goal by during the third period at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers hope to end a five-game losing streak Tuesday night when they play the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Our sense of urgency has to go up,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. “A good start buys us a slump and we have used our slump here. It’s back to work Monday with a good practice and get ourselves ready against another good Toronto team and work our way out of it.”

The Oilers lost 3-1 to the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday in a game that could have gone either way.

The Maple Leafs squandered a three-goal lead before defeating the visiting Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 on Saturday for their second win in their past three games.

The game at Edmonton is the opener of what was supposed to be a four-game Western trip for the Maple Leafs. It was reduced to three, however, when the game at Calgary on Thursday was postponed after six Flames players entered COVID-19 protocol.

The Maple Leafs hope to regain their defensive form, which has slipped, on the trip. Toronto swept its previous Western swing against the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks in late November. That trip started with a victory over the New York Islanders.

“Our trip to California was the best segment we’ve played this year,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We need more of that. Starting in Edmonton, if we’re giving up those quality chances, it’s going to be a long day. We have to get it dialed in here quickly.”

“We just have to be better at taking care of things once we generate the lead, home or road,” Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said.

Toronto had a 4-1 lead before Chicago tied Saturday’s game in the third period. The Maple Leafs got the winning goal at 18:40 of the third after a dump-in resulted in a fortunate bounce off the glass. Chicago goaltender Kevin Lankinen, who had pursued the puck, was caught out of the net, giving David Kampf an easy goal.

The game on Tuesday brings together three of the top snipers in the league with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (23 goals) and McDavid (16), and Toronto’s Auston Matthews (18).

Matthews is on a nine-game points streak (11 goals, five assists).

Edmonton’s offense has lagged during the losing streak, scoring eight goals.

“We have to find a way to score some goals,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “Shoot the puck in the net rather than over-pass it. … We feel like we’re creating enough opportunities, but it’s one thing to create — you have to finish opportunities to make them count.”

–Field Level Media