For the Toronto Maple Leafs it was ground hog day or déjà vu all over again on their way to a convincing 6-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Scotiabank Arena Wednesday.
Similar to Mondays match against the Buffalo Sabres they started a little flat; were out shot almost 3-1 in the opening 12 minutes and found themselves trailing by one on very skillful goal by Leon Draisaitl.
Like they are wont to do, they capitalized on sloppy defensive coverage by the inept visitors and Patrick Marleau evened the score burying his own rebound.
The blue and white came out with a purpose to open the middle frame and similar to Buffalo, the Oilers glanced up at the scoreboard to see they were suddenly trailing by three after 5 minutes. The lead expanded to four before John Tavares capped the night off with his 36th in the third. Andreas Johnsson, who continues to shine with Auston Matthews and Kasperi Kapanen, lead the way with a pair, Mitch Marner who also had two assists and William Nylander rounded out the scoring for Toronto.
Frederik Andersen stopped 34 shots but really wasn’t tested because most of the shots he could see and were desperation attempts.
The Oilers looked disinterested after the first 10-minutes when Leafs decided to stop playing at their level and moved the tempo up a few notches. The defenders were waving at the speedy forwards and it was a just a matter of time before this one could be salted away.
These are must win games and the Leafs moved the puck well, didn’t give much up and all 4-lines were engaged.
However, no time to rest on the laurels of the solid win on a cold snowy night in the Big Smoke because it’s off the Long Island to face the tough New York Islanders. With shaky back-up Garret Sparks in the barrel, Toronto will need to be even more responsible in their own end. Lots of blocked shots!
It also marks the return of John Tavares that Islander fans circled on the calendar after that fateful day in July and it’ll be interesting to see if they care enough to move the needle on the 12,000 average attendance (last in the league) they’ve put up so far this year.