Leafs have trouble containing McDavid in loss to Oilers
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Monday, January 6, 2020
EDMONTON OILERS 6 - TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 4, FINAL
Toronto, ON – Oilers forward Connor McDavid came into the matchup against the Leafs not having recorded a goal in three career games in Toronto. That surely changed on Monday night, as the former No. 1 overall pick had a highlight-reel tally along with three assists in a 6-4 Oilers victory.
He scored a jaw-dropping goal with 8:34 left in regulation. First, he faked out and cut around Morgan Rielly before getting Michael Hutchinson to bite and put it under the crossbar.
"We just gave him way too much space,” Leafs forward Auston Matthews told reporters after the game. “He's the most dangerous player on earth for a reason."
With the loss, Toronto’s ten-game point streak (9-0-1) was snapped. It was also Edmonton’s first win in their last eight games against Toronto.
Edmonton got on the board first with 12:09 left in the opening period. The Oilers trapped the Leafs in their own zone, and the shift ended with a 1-0 Edmonton lead. Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom had a seeing-eye shot from the point, which found its way through heavy traffic and beat Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen short-side. Defenceman Adam Larsson and McDavid assisted on the goal.
The Oilers got the first powerplay of the game, as Leafs defenceman Travis Dermott took an interference penalty with 7:03 to go. Edmonton forward Leon Draisatl hit the crossbar on the man advantage, and that was as close as they came to scoring with the extra man.
With 4:10 left, Toronto went back to the penalty kill. Defenceman Justin Holl went to the box for holding after losing his stick in the corner.
McDavid had a great chance on a breakaway on the powerplay but slid it just wide of the net and Andersen’s right pad.
Andersen made 16 saves in the opening period, which included five alone on McDavid.
Edmonton doubled their lead just 34 seconds into the second period. Defenceman Darnell Nurse found the back of the net after taking a pass from McDavid to make it 2-0 Oilers.
Just 1:11 later, they struck again.
Edmonton forward Kailer Yamamoto beat Andersen for his second goal in four games. Keefe had seen enough, as he pulled Andersen in favour of Michael Hutchinson.
"Before I did, I just told our team, 'I'm not going to let Freddie play behind that.' That's not fair to him,” Keefe told reporters after the game. “Before that, it felt like he had already had almost a full game's worth of work."
The decision sparked the team.
39 seconds after the Oilers scored, Leafs forward Jason Spezza returned the favour beating Smith on a 3-on-2. After the quick flurry of goals, it was now 3-1 Edmonton.
The Leafs had an opportunity with a 5-on-3 powerplay midway through the period but couldn’t convert with three shots on the man advantage.
With 6:19 left in the period, Oilers forward Alex Chiasson beat Hutchinson off the crossbar and in to extend the Oilers lead to 4-1.
Later in the period, Toronto forward Frederik Gauthier took a pass while streaking to the net and made no mistake, beating Smith to cut the lead in half at 4-2. Leafs rookie Mason Marchment recorded his first career NHL point with an assist on the goal.
2:51 later, the lead was down to one. Justin Holl took a shot on net which deflected off Pierre Engvall’s skate and into the net to make it a 4-3 game.
The Leafs went down a man once again after forward Alex Kerfoot chipped the puck over the glass just 28 seconds into the third period. But, Toronto didn’t have much of a problem killing off the penalty.
Edmonton went back to the powerplay with 14:03 left following a high-sticking penalty on Holl. But this time, Edmonton found the back of the net.
Draisaitl took a pass from Chiasson and used Cody Ceci and Klefbom as a screen and wired one past Hutchinson for his 25th of the season to make it 5-3.
After McDavid made it 6-3, Matthews got one back. He sniped one short side and top shelf with 6:42 left on the powerplay. That made it 6-4, which stood as the final score.
Next up for Toronto is Winnipeg on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena. They’ll hope for a similar result from their last meeting, when they defeated them 6-3 on January 2.