The visiting Edmonton Oilers have one more chance in the regular season Monday night to make a statement to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs, who trailed 3-1 with eight minutes left in the third period Saturday night, came back to win the opener of the two-game set 4-3 in overtime.
Toronto has won six of the eight meetings this season, including the past four in a row. The game Monday closes the regular-season series between the teams.
“I thought we played fairly solid for the most part, leading by two with eight minutes to go, but you have to get that into the last minute and shut it down,” said Leon Draisaitl, who had a goal and two assists for Edmonton on Saturday. “It’s on us. Things like (Saturday) shouldn’t happen again.”
Draisaitl and Connor McDavid (two assists) led a three-goal outburst in the second period for the Oilers. Toronto’s John Tavares scored at 12:21 of the third and William Nylander tied the game at 16:38.
Auston Matthews got the winning goal when his shot from the left circle deflected off Draisaitl and Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse before entering the goal 54 seconds into overtime. Matthews, who had not scored in his previous five games, has 22 goals this season.
“We just stuck with it,” Matthews said. “I think the second period we definitely didn’t play our best hockey but the third period, we just clawed our way back. … Not like how we really drew it up there in overtime but a fortunate bounce and we’ll take that any day of the week.”
The Maple Leafs are on a three-game winning streak after losing six of seven. The Oilers had a three-game winning streak ended with the loss at Toronto. They had not played in a week because three games against the Montreal Canadiens were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.
“Just not a good third period by us,” said Tyson Barrie, who had a goal and an assist for Edmonton. “We’ve been in tight games where we had the lead and we’ve done a good job of closing them out. That certainly wasn’t the case (Saturday). … They beat us three straight in Edmonton last time (Feb. 27-March 3). We remembered that, it stung, so we wanted to get this one. It was a disappointing end.”
The Maple Leafs’ power play continued to struggle. Toronto is in an 0-for-18 slump after going 0-for-2 on Saturday.
“I thought (Saturday was) the best it’s been in a long time,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “If it looks like it did (Saturday), if it looks like that consistently, we would be more than happy with that. Matthews again on the backside has got a look and somehow the puck just rests on a goalie’s pad, I don’t know if I’ve ever even seen that before. Things like this are happening right now, but I thought our process was good.”
Toronto goaltender Jack Campbell is undefeated in his six starts this season after the win on Saturday. Michael Hutchinson is his backup with Frederik Andersen out because of a lower-body injury.
Keefe had no update on Andersen. “He’s having different examinations, ” he said. “He has not been on the ice (since March 19), so his return is not imminent here yet.”
–Field Level Media