The Edmonton Oilers are looking for redemption after Sunday’s loss to Ottawa and begin a five-game road swing against Toronto Tuesday.
Both of these teams are young and fast, and they each have their fair share of weapons in their arsenal. This means that the Oilers will have to keep up the fast pace and rely on their experience to outplay the Leafs and come away with a win.
Here are the projected line combinations for the Oilers against Toronto.
Milan Lucic-Connor McDavid-Jordan Eberle
Benoit Pouliot-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Zack Kassian
Patrick Maroon-Leon Draisaitl-Jesse Puljujarvi
Anton Lander-Mark Letestu-Tyler Pitlick
Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera-Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse-Matthew Benning
Jonas Gustav Lineup Notes
Matthew Benning will draw in and make his NHL debut Wednesday, replacing Eric Gryba on the bottom pairing. He put up a strong performance during training camp and has been a healthy scratch most of the time, except for a short stint in Bakersfield.
The forward lines will remain the same for the Oilers, unless of course there is no chemistry during the game.
Matt Hendricks, Iiro Pakarinen and Drake Caggiula are still listed as week-to-week. Cam Talbot is expected to start between the pipes.
Who else to watch besides McDavid and Auston Matthews? The two young guns are first-overall NHL draft picks, and will finally be facing off head-to-head. They played on a line and made magic together while playing for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey. McDavid is the NHL’s first star of the month for October and has five goals and 12 points in just nine games. Not to mention, in one game against the Maple Leafs in 2015-16, he put up five points (two goals, three assists).
Jordan Eberle has 16 points in 10 career games against Toronto, and Pouliot has 23 points in 21 games against the Leafs. With the Oilers putting up strong numbers against this team, expect them to make a mark and create plenty of offensive opportunitites.
Keys to the Game
Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
The Oilers must make their power-play unit work. If this means switching it up and adding another blueliner to the point, then so be it. There have been too many opportunities that Edmonton has let pass by so far this season, and their man advantage is loaded with an offensive arsenal. They must capitalize, especially when they have the upper hand and tools to score.
Also, Edmonton needs to utilize their depth. They have plenty of big forwards, gritty veterans and fast youth, along with guys who have worked wonders against Toronto. If they can do that, they will have no problems scoring.
Lastly, the defense needs to be on its A-game. That means Russell blocking shots, Larsson and Klefbom playing a shutdown style and Benning making the most of his debut. This Toronto team may be young, but they are fast and have plenty of weapons.
The puck drops at 5:30 MT at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.