He’s Back!! Connor McDavid will draw back into the line up against his hometown team the Toronto Maple Leafs. Angry and disappointed about his suspension, with family and friends in the stands, McDavid will be chomping at the bit to skate circles around Matthews and his crew. The Oilers were able to grab a 3 out of 4 possible points without Connor in the lineup. McDavid will want to make sure he contributes tonight to apologize like the good Canadian kid he is for missing two games. Expect a big night for him. On that same note, it appears Nazem Kadri is out with injury tonight which is great news for Oilers fans, even better news for McDavid. It seems as though every time the Oilers play the Leafs Kadri doesn’t even look for the puck, he just glues himself to Connor making for a miserable night for every one involved. McDavid is too good for Kadri and always finds a way to produce but it gets way to annoying, so good news on that front tonight.
The Oilers now have points in their last four games but haven’t gained any traction in the playoff race. As sad as it is to say, they playoff race is over for us. The Oilers didn’t buy at the deadline though which was good because we weren’t going to make it into the playoffs. They also didn’t sell which I think is a mistake, it would have been smart to get some assets for pending UFA’s. However, not selling allows the Oilers to keep prospects down in the minors developing so maybe it wasn’t all bad.
The Leafs come into the game into the game 3rd place in the Atlantic division, 3 points back of Boston with a game in hand. After a 1st round exit to Boston in the playoffs last season, the Leafs will be desperate to overtake the Bruins and secure home ice in the playoffs to give themselves every advantage they can get.
The Leafs only made one trade on trade deadline day, sending Lindholm to Winnipeg for Nic Petan. This trade probably won’t move the needle much but they do gain some skill. The Leafs big move came a few weeks earlier when GM Kyle Dubas acquired Jake Muzzin from the LA Kings.
Though the Leafs are in the thick of a playoff race, Expect a determined Connor McDavid to lead the Oilers to victory tonight
Oilers (Courtesy of @Bob_Stauffer on Twitter)
RNH – McDavid – Gagner
Rieder – Draisaitl – Chiasson
Lucic – Cave – Currie
Malone – Brodziak – Currie
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Benning – Sekera
Klefbom took a slash to the hand last game and left for a period of time but he looks to be ok and will draw back into the line up. Gagner looks to be getting a chance along side McDavid, he has looked good in his return to the Orange and Blue. Draisaitl is saddled with 0 goal Rieder and 1 goal since Jan 1st Chiasson. Drai is on fire lately, he might be able to carry one of these two to a goal.
Maple Leafs (Courtesy of www.DailyFaceoff.com)
Hyman – Tavares – Marner
Johnsson – Matthews – Kapanen
Marleau – Nylander – Brown
Ennis – Gauthier – Moore
Rielly – Hainsey
Muzzin – Zaitsev
Dermott – Ozhiganov
Gardiner and Kadri are both out of the line up tonight which is great news for the Oilers. It was rumoured that the Oilers were poking around at Connor Brown at the deadline, one of the pieces involved looked to be Matt Benning going the other way. If I was the Oilers I would pursue this at the draft or in the summer. Brown hasn’t performed great this season but was teammates and friends with McDavid in Jr. in Erie. He is a forward who has some scoring potential which the Oilers desperately need and Benning has another year at 1.9 mil, and could be replaced by Bear or Bouchard on the 3rd pair next season. It would give us a clearer picture on defence while adding some scoring to the forward corps. There would be other pieces involved but I think it’s something the Oilers should pursue.