PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers searching for offense in rematch with Toronto Maple Leafs

Mar 1, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defensemen T.J. Brodie (78) and Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) play for the puck during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers are in need of a jolt after being shut out in consecutive contests against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Oilers bid for a better result on Wednesday when the teams clash once again in Edmonton.

The Oilers followed Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Maple Leafs with a 3-0 defeat two days later. They are looking for answers to put their game back on track.

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“I think we’ve had our chances,” Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl said. “The puck’s not really bouncing our way right, but you have to earn those bounces and we haven’t been doing that.”

Draisaitl and captain Connor McDavid were held without a point in consecutive games for the first time since early in the 2019-20 season. To cope, the Oilers are doing their best to remain upbeat.

“Everyone goes through funks like this. It happened to us last year. … These things happen and you have work your way out of it,” McDavid said. “We’re playing a good team, and they’ve won two and we’ve lost two. Ultimately we have to find a way to get ourselves a win … however we have to do that.”

Said defenseman Darnell Nurse: “We’re not going to get ourselves down in this room. The two games haven’t gone the way we wanted them to go, but what are we going to do? Kick ourselves while we’re down and mope around? We know we’re a good team, capable of winning hockey games against any team in this league. That’s the mindset we need to keep.”

The Maple Leafs recorded consecutive shutouts against the same team for the first time since beating the Detroit Red Wings twice in November 1954. They’re off to their hottest start in franchise history with 17 wins through the first 23 games (17-4-2). Making it more impressive is they’ve been without their top goaltender Frederik Andersen and leading goal scorer Auston Matthews for the past handful of games.

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“That’s been really healthy for us to see,” coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Obviously we want to get our people back here. We’re a stronger group when we’re healthy, but it’s a very good sign that you can still get a win, especially here on the road against a very good team.”

Michael Hutchinson stepped in for an ailing Jack Campbell and stopped 31 shots in his appearance.

“Any time you get a shutout in the NHL, it’s a special moment,” Hutchinson said. “They don’t happen too often. It was a lot of fun watching (Campbell) get a shutout last game and coming off injury and playing well. For myself, I thought the guys battled and played hard in front of me all night tonight and made my job as easy as possible.”

The Maple Leafs have been held back in recent years due to their defensive play, but they have shown huge improvement in that area. In fact, they’re a top-five team in terms of goals-against per game.

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“When you’re playing the same team in these miniseries, it’s hard to beat a team twice in a row,” Hutchinson added. “For us to come out and battle like we did and get the result that we did, it was huge.”

The Oilers will be without forward Alex Chiasson, who was suspended one game on Tuesday after a cross-check to the face of Toronto’s Jimmy Vesey at the conclusion of Monday’s game.

–Field Level Media