Some of the fireworks that were predicted when the Toronto Maple Leafs met the Edmonton Oilers last night just didn’t go off. Maple Leafs big gun Auston Matthews was loaded, but the Oilers’ two guns, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, just didn’t fire. The result was a relatively easy – but odd – 5-1 victory for the Blue & White on the road to Edmonton.
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The Oilers have the top two scorers in the NHL (McDavid and Draisaitl, who each have 45 points); but, neither was successful for their team. Matthews, on the other hand, scored two goals. The Maple Leafs also collected goals from Wayne Simmonds (in the paint, of course), TJ Brodie (his first goal of the season) and Morgan Rielly (who had two points on the night).
Takeaway: Jack Campbell is still at the top of the NHL standings
While the outcome of the game never looked in doubt, it’s not that the Oilers weren’t pushing or getting pucks on the net. In fact, Maple Leafs starting goaltender Jack Campbell saw 36 shots during the game. He stopped 35. In fact, Campbell held a shutout until the third period when the Oilers scored their first and only goal.
In my eyes, Campbell has never played badly this season; but, recently, the targets have exceeded it. Last night, it was more of a return to normal with only one goal allowed. In his previous two games, Campbell had allowed four goals in each game and 14 goals in his last four. It’s not what Campbell’s Maple Leafs fans expect.
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Yet counting all the numbers, Campbell has been nothing short of exceptional all season. He’s won four of his last six games and is 15-5-2 this season. His goals against average is 1.94 and his save percentage is 0.937 in 23 games. In two of those categories – wins and save percentage – he’s tied for first in the NHL among goaltenders.
Takeaway two: Auston Matthews catches up with the leaders
Auston Matthews scored twice against the Oilers – once to start the scoring and once to end the scoring. Matthews is on the kind of roll that can carry an entire offense. He was particularly powerful on the power play; and, of his 33 points (20 goals and 13 assists) this season, 15 have come with a man advantage.
Matthews is currently adding a point in every game to his 10-game scoring streak, in which he has played six multi-point games (including three of his last four). After his slow start to the season, there’s a chance he could actually make it a three-way race between himself, Oilers ‘Leon Draisaitl and Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin for the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer. .
Third point: Morgan Rielly is also on a streak
Compared to teammate Matthews, Morgan Rielly’s streak looks modest. Still, in last night’s game, Rielly extended his points streak to four games with one goal and one assist. Rielly has had a great season and is certainly working to earn a salary.
During the season, Rielly has scored four goals and added 22 assists (for 26 points) in 30 games. He assisted on Wayne Simmonds’ goal in the second period and then scored one of his own in the third. In his last seven games, he’s added almost two points in every game with 12 points in those seven.
Fourth element: Brett Seney injured during the match
Talk about bad luck. It was Brett Seney’s first NHL game since the 2019-20 season, and it may be his last for some time. The report is that he may have suffered a broken finger late in the contest, which was his season debut. He played just over seven minutes and had a shot on goal.
What’s next for the Maple Leafs?
In the past two seasons, the Maple Leafs have played four games against the Oilers and have dominated. They outscored the Oilers 18-2 in those games. Obviously, the team is doing something right to negate the offensive strength of McDavid and Draisaitl. The anticipated meeting between Zach Hyman of the Oilers and the Maple Leafs just didn’t work out because Hyman sat down with an injury.
Related: Auston Matthews Is Better Than Leon Draisaitl
Thinking of this game – and others – it’s interesting that the Maple Leafs have come under heavy criticism for a pay structure that splits wages so unevenly. It is true that most of the salary cap goes towards a few stars and leaves less to the rest of the team. Yet that night the Maple Leafs showed they have much better depth than the Oilers. This seems to be true all season, in fact.
During the season, the Maple Leafs compiled an 8-4-1 record and slipped to No. 1 in the NHL with 42 points. Other teams have games in hand; However, this level of the team’s success could not have been predicted.
For some Maple Leafs fans, this success will only invite more calls to trade Mitch Marner. Fun hockey game.
The former professor (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for over 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and just being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies the way a professional athlete should act).
If you’re wondering why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who is also Jim Parsons – wrote for Hockey writers first and asked Jim Sr. to use another name so that readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. had worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (èå¸«). The first character lÇo (è) means “old” and the second character shÄ« (å¸«) means “teacher”. The literal translation of lÇoshÄ« is “old teacher”. It became his pen name. Today, apart from writing for Hockey writers, he teaches graduate students research design at several Canadian universities.
He can’t wait to share his thoughts on the Toronto Maple Leafs and how the sport is more involved in life. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf