Maple Leafs-Oilers Preview
Big wins weren’t as rare for the Toronto Maple Leafs when they
played under Pat Quinn. Now coaching the Edmonton Oilers, Quinn
hasn’t had a victory in two weeks.
Coming off one of their best performances of the season, the
Maple Leafs face the reeling Oilers on Wednesday night in their
first game against Quinn since firing him 3 1/2 years ago.
Toronto (14-17-9), trying to end a four-year playoff drought,
got a big confidence boost with a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday
night. The Penguins are the type of elite team the Maple Leafs
haven’t been able to count themselves among since firing Quinn
following the 2005-06 season.
Missing the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons was
enough to end Quinn’s time with Toronto, which replaced him with
Paul Maurice and is now in its second season under Ron Wilson, who
went to the 1994 Stanley Cup final with Vancouver as an assistant
Quinn went 300-196-26 with 52 ties in seven seasons with the
Maple Leafs, guiding them to Eastern Conference finals appearances
in 1999 and 2002.
Only Punch Imlach has led Toronto to more regular-season wins
(360) than Quinn. Imlach won four Stanley Cups with Toronto, the
last of which was in 1967 – the last time the Maple Leafs won a
After a three-year absence from the NHL, Quinn was named coach
of Edmonton in May but has had little success as Craig MacTavish’s
successor. A two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach
of the year, Quinn’s Oilers are in last in the Western
Edmonton has lost seven in a row, all in regulation, for its
worst run since a nine-game skid from Feb. 25-March 15, 2007. The
Oilers have also lost seven straight at home.
“We’re going to have to find a way to turn the corner,” Quinn
Edmonton has been held to one goal in each of its last three
games, including a 4-1 loss to Calgary on Monday night.
Dustin Penner, who leads the Oilers with 19 goals and 19
assists, has been held without a point in three straight contests.
The left wing has no points in two career games against the Maple
Toronto, meanwhile, is coming off its highest-scoring effort
since beating Washington 6-3 on Dec. 12. The Maple Leafs have
gotten at least one point in four of five games.
Ian White scored against the Penguins with 1:22 to play, 53
seconds after Pittsburgh tied the game for the third time. The
defenseman has eight goals, three in his last four games, and his
21 points are five shy of a career high he has set in two different
The Maple Leafs have gotten 18 goals from the six defensemen who
were in uniform against the Penguins. Tomas Kaberle’s 35 points
(three goals, 32 assists) puts him among the leaders in that
category among the league’s defensemen.
Kaberle has a goal and five assists in his last three games
against the Oilers, with the Maple Leafs winning all three. The
road team won each game in last season’s series.