The NHL is set up with a great slate of action again on Wednesday. Five games will be up on the board throughout January 20. One of these games will be between the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. These two teams have come out in opposite directions to open up this season, but it should be a good game on Wednesday night. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
The Oilers have opened up this season with a record of 1-3, which has them tied for last place in the North Division. Edmonton has lost back to back games against the Montreal Canadiens and will look to bounce back in this one. The Oilers will look to come out much better in this one as they look to get back into the race. I expect Edmonton to set the pace early in this one as they look for a win.
Toronto has put up a record of 3-1 to open up the new season, which has them on top of the North Division. The Maple Leafs have won two games in a row coming into this one and will look to keep it up. Toronto knocked off the Montreal team that took out Edmonton twice to open up the season. The Maple Leafs will look to have some momentum to open up this game against the Oilers.
These two teams are sitting with opposite records to open up the season, but the talent on both sides is very apparent. The Oilers have struggled, but I do not expect that to continue. Edmonton has lost two tough games against the Canadiens, but will look to bounce back in this one. The Maple Leafs will look to keep up their winning streak as they look to assert dominance on top of the North.
The Oilers and the Maple Leafs met up twice throughout last season. The first game was on December 14 in Edmonton. Alex Chiasson scored for the Oilers, but it was not enough. Alexander Kerfoot had a goal and an assist, while Pierre Engvall had two assists. Frederik Andersen stopped 36 of the 37 shots he faced to help lead the Maple Leafs to a 4-1 win on the road.
The second game of the season series was in Toronto on January 6. Pierre Engvall had a goal and an assist, while Kasperi Kapanen had two assists. It was not enough for the Maple Leafs though. Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists, while Leon Draisaitl and Alex Chiasson both had a goal and an assist. The Oilers were able to tie up the season series with a 6-4 win.
These two teams split the season series last season, each winning a game on the road. The first game was more low scoring for the Oilers, but offense exploded in the second meeting. I expect the stars to come out quick on Wednesday night as they look to set the tone. If either teams stars can step up early in this one, it could be enough to earn the win.
The Oilers were the best team in the league on special teams last season. Edmonton was able to capitalize on 29.5 percent of their power play chances and kill off 84.4 percent of the penalties against them last season. To open up this season, the Oilers have scored on 2 of their 18 power play opportunities, while killing off 12 of 14 penalties against them.
Toronto’s power play was strong last season, but their penalty kill had some issues. The Maple Leafs scored on 23.1 percent of their power play attempts, while killing off 77.7 percent of the penalties against them. Toronto has scored on 6 of their 14 power plays for a 42.9 percent success rate this season. The Maple Leafs have also killed off 14 of 17 penalties against, which is an 82.4 percent kill rate.
These two teams were strong on the power play last season, but it was the Oilers penalty kill that was stronger during the last campaign. Toronto has been better on special teams this season, but I think the Oilers power play can break through in this one. Edmonton’s power play could not get going against the Canadiens and I expect them to switch things up coming into this one.
I expect Mikko Koskinen to get the nod in the crease for the Oilers in this one. Koskinen has played in all four games to open up this season. He has posted a save percentage of .897 and a 3.80 GAA. Koskinen played well in the last game against Montreal. He stopped 31 of 34 shots in the losing effort. Edmonton will look to play better in front of Koskinen in this one.
Frederik Andersen will likely get the start in the net for the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. Andersen has started in three games, going 2-1 to open up the season. He has put up a .881 save percentage and a GAA of 3.32. In Andersen’s last game against the Winnipeg Jets, he stopped 27 of 28 shots to help give the Maple Leafs the win.
These two goalies have had slow starts to the new season. Both goalies will look to get going in this one though. Koskinen and Andersen had solid performances in their last game though. If either goalie can build off of that coming into this one, they should be able to help their team earn the win. I expect both defenses to try and give them some help coming into Wednesday nights game.
The Oilers are coming off two tough losses to the Canadiens and I think they will come out much better in this one. This will be Edmonton’s first road trip of the season and I expect the leaders of this team to get them going. The Oilers have not lived up to standards in the first week of the season, but if they can turn it around against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, it could give a lot of momentum going forward.
BetOnline has Toronto listed as a -145 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Maple Leafs will win this game around 59.2 percent of the time. I think that Edmonton is much better than their start implies. I think the Oilers have a chance to get it done on Wednesday night. As big underdogs Edmonton has a lot of value, making them my pick of the night.