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Preview: Oilers at Maple Leafs

Edmonton's Connor McDavid faces Toronto's Auston Matthews in battle of past two No. 1 draft picks

by David Alter / NHL.com Correspondent

OILERS (7-2-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (2-4-3)

7:30 pm. ET; TSN4, SNOL, NHL.TV

 

Oilers team scope

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid, the first pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, will play his first NHL game in Toronto, which is about 30 minutes south of his hometown of Richmond Hill, Ontario. McDavid missed the only game between the Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre last season because of a broken left clavicle. "I've played in this building a few times, but never against the Maple Leafs and never wearing the Oilers logo," he said. "I'm definitely excited to do that with a bunch of family and friends. It's going to be a special night for me." McDavid had an NHL career-high five points (two goals, three assists) when the Oilers hosted the Maple Leafs on Feb. 11. The Oilers have the best record in the Western Conference with 14 points; last season on Nov. 1 they were 4-8-0 and fifth in the Pacific Division. Oilers coach Todd McLellan will coach his 632nd game, giving him sole possession of 50th place in League history.

 

Maple Leafs scope

Toronto Maple Leafs rookie forward Auston Matthews, the No. 1 pick of the 2016 draft, will play against McDavid for the first time in his NHL career. They were teammates on Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey 2016. "He's just a very special player so it's going to be tough to contain him really," Matthews said of McDavid. "He's got that explosive speed, quick hands. Along with him and other players, we have to be on our toes tonight." Goaltender Frederik Andersen is 6-0-1 with a 1.99 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in seven career games against the Oilers.

 

Oilers projected lineup

Milan Lucic -- Connor McDavid -- Jordan Eberle

Patrick Maroon -- Leon Draisaitl -- Jesse Puljujarvi

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Zack Kassian

Anton Lander -- Mark Letestu -- Tyler Pitlick

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Eric Gryba, Anton Slepyshev

Injured: Brandon Davidson (upper body), Andrew Ference (hip), Matt Hendricks (lower body), Iiro Pakarinen (knee)

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Connor Brown

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Ben Smith -- Nikita Soshnikov

Morgan Rielly -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Roman Polak

Martin Marincin -- Connor Carrick

Frederik Andersen

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Seth Griffith, Peter Holland, Frank Corrado

Injured: Matt Hunwick (lower body)

 

Status report

Benning will make his NHL debut, replacing Gryba in the lineup. … Josh Leivo, who has not played this season because of a lower-body injury, was assigned to Toronto of the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment. Soshnikov was called up from Toronto of the AHL and will make his NHL season debut. He had two goals and three assists in 11 games last season. "I was really disappointed that I couldn't start with the [Maple] Leafs," he said. "It was hard to watch games in training camp while I couldn't do anything."

 

Who's hot

Talbot is 4-1-0 with three goals allowed in his past five starts. … Nylander has at least one point in seven of nine games, and leads the Maple Leafs with 11 points (four goals, seven assists).

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