Maple Leafs vs. Oilers NHL Pick – January 28, 2021

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An uneven start to our NHL season got even worse with my second straight 0-2 night on Wednesday, missing my picks by mere inches once again.

A night after taking a pair of 3-2 moneyline losses despite holding 2-1 leads in both of those games, we came ever so close again but still can’t get a bounce.

We had the Preds in regulation over the Blackhawks, and Nashville led 1-0 in the third before Chicago’s Ryan Carpenter banked one in off Predators netminder Juuse Saros to tie it. Nashville had a power play followed by plenty of scoring chances to re-take the lead before the final buzzer, but couldn’t convert and our pick was done.

We also had the over 6.5 in Vancouver between the Senators and Canucks, and the Canucks did their part in scoring five times in that one. The problem was Ottawa scored just once despite putting 43 shots on goal and we couldn’t get just two third-period goals in a 5-1 Canucks final that fell one goal short of winning.

Once again, we were in excellent position to go 2-0 and went 0-2 for the second straight night.

It’s a frustrating time, but we’re missing by inches and not miles as we’ll stick to our research in this Maple Leafs vs. Oilers NHL pick from Edmonton!

  • Season Record: 6-12
  • Units: -7.15

Maple Leafs vs. Oilers Betting Odds

  • Maple Leafs (-129)
  • Oilers (+117)
  • Maple Leafs -1.5 (+185)
  • Oilers +1.5 (-215)
  • Over 6.5 (+111)
  • Under 6.5 (-122)

Maple Leafs vs Oilers NHL Pick Breakdown

Maple Leafs

Offense

The Maple Leafs are certainly a high-octane offense that ranked third in the league last season, but they aren’t off to a blazing start, but rather a solid one at 11th with 3.25 goals per game.

Their power play, on the other hand, has been red-hot to start to the season as they sit second with an eye-popping 41.7% clip through eight games, behind only the Stars and their outrageous 56.3% mark in a tiny three-game sample.

The Maple Leafs haven’t dominated as much at 5v5 this season so far as they did last year, although their numbers are solid.

At 5v5 this time around, they rank seventh in scoring chances for/60, 17th in high-danger chances for/60 and 19th in expected goals for/60, as per Natural Stat Trick. Given the skill on this team, it’s interesting to see them way down at 26th in terms of high-danger shooting rate, a number I would expect to positively regress moving forward.

The Leafs are coming off a four-goal effort in a hard-fought win over the Flames on Tuesday, their fifth victory in their last six games. Their top six featuring the likes of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander have all began the season red-hot, and while they’ve received some depth scoring, it’s a group that needs to finish more of their chances to enjoy more sustained success up front.

Defense

The Leafs’ defense has been much-maligned over the last several seasons, and general manager Kyle Dubas went out and added T.J. Brodie and Zach Bogosian to their top six while KHL leading scorer among defenseman from last season Mikko Lehtonen has made his way into the lineup for three of the eight games so far.

The results on defense have been solid as well. The Maple Leafs rank 13th in overall defense while allowing 2.75 goals per game on the season and tied for 14th with 30.4 shots against per game.

The advanced metrics more or less support such results as the Leafs rank 19th in scoring chances against/60, although 23rd in high-danger chances against/60 and 20th in expected goals against/60. Their penalty kill currently sits 14th at 80% on the season.

Over their last six games, the Leafs haven’t allowed more than three goals while they’ve allowed two or less in two of their last three, averaging 2.33 goals against per game in that time. They allowed five goals in two games against these Oilers in a two-game set in Toronto last week.

They still have plenty of tidying up to do as almost every team around the league does at this point in the young season, but Dubas has to be fairly satisfied with what his new-look defense has accomplished so far.

Goaltending

The Maple Leafs began the season with four goaltenders with NHL experience. After Aaron Dell was claimed by the New Jersey Devils on waivers and Jack Campbell was injured on Sunday in Calgary, they’re down to two in starter Frederik Andersen and returnee Michael Hutchinson.

It’s Andersen as the confirmed starter tonight and he’s been excellent after a real tough start to his season.

On the whole, Andersen enters this one sporting a 2.84 GAA and .896 Sv% on the season. That said, he posted a ghastly .839 Sv% over his first two starts of the season, but has since worked to a .925 Sv% over his last four starts, winning three of them.

Andersen is a notoriously slow starter, but his getting hot becomes more important with Campbell’s injury, one that will apparently take “weeks” to recover from.

That said, fatigue isn’t an issue for Andersen as this marks just his second start in six days as he got a breather for Sunday’s win over the Flames before backstopping the Leafs to victory on Tuesday.

Oilers

Offense

Same old story in Edmonton as the top six is getting the job done in spades but the bottom-six is struggling to generate any offense of their own.

Connor McDavid is tied with Toronto’s Marner for the NHL lead with 12 points, all of which have come over his last seven games. Leon Draisaitl is just one behind with 11 points on the season while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kailer Yamamoto have eight and seven points, respectively.

After that, their bottom-six point leader is Jesse Puljujarvi with two assists. However, given Zack Kassian’s slow start on McDavid’s right wing, that spot will now go to Puljujarvi where he spent the last two games with fantastic 5v5 results for the duo.

That said, this Oilers offense currently sits 17th with 2.88 goals per game thanks to the bottom-six’s lack of support. Their league-best power play from last season has scuffled early on, sitting 19th at 17.9% on the season.

At 5v5, the Oilers sit 15th in scoring chances for/60, but also sixth in high-danger chances for/60 and seventh in expected goals for/60. A 25th-ranked high-danger shooting rate has also cost this Oilers club like it has the Leafs while Edmonton sits 19th in overall 5v5 shooting rate.

As elite as the McDavid/Draisaitl one-two punch is, it’s going to be tough for this Oilers offense to produce consistently without any help from underneath.

Defense

Defense has certainly been an issue for this Oilers team this season, as was to be expected with the absence of No. 1 defenseman Oscar Klefbom for the entire season.

Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear have been a quality top-pairing, but Adam Larsson has struggled and Kris Russell hasn’t been much better.

They’ll enter this one ranked 26th while averaging 3.63 goals per game on the season and the advanced numbers largely agree with that assessment.

At 5v5, the Oilers rank 25th in scoring chances against/60, 19th in high-danger chances against/60 and 21st in expected goals against/60. Like their power play, their penalty kill has regressed early on, sitting at 20th with a 76% mark on the season after finishing second in the NHL in that department a season ago.

The Oilers are coming off a disheartening defensive collapse from Tuesday in Winnipeg when they blew a 3-1 lead and allowed four third-period goals in what finished as a 6-4 loss to the Jets.

It’s a group that’s largely looked out of sync in the early stages of the season and one that will have its hands full with the high-end skill of the Maple Leafs tonight.

Goaltending

Here’s where things could get really dicey for the Oilers.

With Mike Smith injured and a complete lack of secondary options, the Oilers have been forced to play Mikko Koskinen for every second of their eight games so far this season.

Koskinen’s 473:43 minutes played on the season is more than 100 minutes more than second-place Philipp Grubauer at 359:04. Furthermore, his 269 shots against this season is also by far the most in the NHL, ahead of second-place Thatcher Demko at 198.

In other words, dude’s gotta be exhausted.

It’s a condensed schedule to boot, and you almost can’t blame the guy for posting a subpar 3.42 GAA and .900 Sv% on the season. Given the workload, you’d almost take that .900 Sv% and run.

It’s a tough situation for a team that lost third-stringer Anton Forsberg on waivers as part of the league’s taxi squad goaltender carousel, but Koskinen is getting peppered behind this lackluster Oilers defense this season.

Maple Leafs vs. Oilers NHL Pick

A major theme for me in this one tonight is fatigue. You just read what Koskinen has been through, but there’s plenty of it with the Maple Leafs.

Tonight marks the Leafs’ ninth game in 15 days. They have yet to have more than a day’s rest at a time so far this season. In fact, the same goes for this Oilers team.

After the Maple Leafs outshot the Flames 10-1 in the opening frame on Tuesday, they were outshot 25-11 the rest of the way and appeared exhausted in the process.

Same goes for the Oilers. They endured a colossal collapse on Tuesday, getting outshot 33-26 in that one. They didn’t appear as tired as the Leafs, partly due to the Leafs playing a rested Flames team on Tuesday.

So, where do you go with two tired teams? Does the skill take over against tired defenders or are the forwards so tired we’ll see a dump-and-chase game?

I’m with the former.

There’s too much high-end skill among the top six of each of these teams to play a lackadaisical style. I think McDavid and Draisaitl give a tired Leafs blueline fits in this one while Matthews and Tavares should do the same with an Oilers defense, but also Koskinen who is lapping the rest of the league in minutes played this season.

I was surprised to see the over as a notable underdog in this one, and I think speed and skill wins up front over these tired back ends and this one indeed hits the Over 6.5 at valuable odds.

The Bet
OVER 6.5
+111
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.