The Edmonton Oilers haven’t been terrible against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first two games of their three-game miniseries, but they also haven’t been good enough. Yes, there is some bad luck both offensively and defensively at play, but the Maple Leafs have certainly been the better of the two teams in both meetings so far.
The Oilers, who have lost two straight in shutout fashion and now sit 14-10-0, need to find answers fast if they want to salvage the final game of the series tonight at Rogers Place.
Connor McDavid, obviously held pointless in this series so far, believes these games have gone exactly how Toronto wants and the complete opposite of what the upstart Oilers were hoping for.
“Both games kind of went exactly as they probably scripted them. As well as you’d script any game if you’re them,” McDavid admitted on Tuesday. “Getting up two or three early and kind of just holding onto that. When you’re playing up 2-0 or 3-0, it’s a pretty easy game you got to play. Focusing on our start, not to say that it’s been an issue, but finding a way to limit their chances as well.”
The Maple Leafs are far too good of a team to play catchup against. This team is far deeper and far better defensively than any other team the Oilers will face in the North Division this season. Once they get up by two or more goals, you may as well pack it in. Toronto has figured out how to close games out.
That makes the first goal, which the Oilers are undefeated when getting at home, so important tonight. It would also help if the puck would bounce the other way for a change,
“Finding a way to get the first one would obviously be big for us,” McDavid continued. “If not, it’s not the end of the world. Games have kind of gone perfectly for them. They’ve gotten some bounces and they’ve played well. Maybe we haven’t been at our best but we haven’t gotten many bounces either. Not to make any excuses for ourselves. Give them a lot of credit, they’re playing well and it’s a big one for us tomorrow night.”
A win would give the Oilers a little confidence heading into a huge rivalry game at Rogers Place on Saturday against the Calgary Flames. It would also cut the gap at the top of the North Division, and keep the Oilers within reach of the Divisional crown.