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Oilers start lengthy road trip vs. Maple Leafs

by Brian Hunter /

OILERS (1-3-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (4-1-0)


Season series: This is the first of two meetings between the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Canadian rivals last faced off on Feb. 15, 2012, with the Maple Leafs recording a 4-3 overtime win at Rexall Place.

Big story: First-place Maple Leafs. It has a nice ring to it for the fans in Toronto, even if it's only the second week of the season. The team is holding its own in a division that features not only traditional rivals like the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens, but now the Detroit Red Wings as well. The Maple Leafs will host an Oilers team struggling to find its way and beginning a six-game road trip.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Any hopes a four-goal third-period rally and shootout win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday would get Edmonton streaking in the right direction were dashed with Thursday's 4-1 home loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

Devan Dubnyk returned to the net after Jason LaBarbera started against the Devils. He turned in his best effort of the young season, stopping 23 of 26 shots, but after Ryan Smyth's power-play goal in the second period opened the scoring, the Oilers' offense was stymied.

"It was a matter of missed opportunities at certain times in the night," captain Andrew Ference said. "We showed a lot of jump right off the bat and we got a couple of power plays that I don't think we even got a shot on them. We had some really good shifts and some really good portions of hockey, and it was just taking our foot off the pedal for certain parts of the game.

"It's disappointing. We had some inconsistent shifts where we failed to follow up strong portions of hockey once again."

Maple Leafs: Bouncing back from a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday turned out to be as simple for Toronto as putting Jonathan Bernier between the pipes and letting him get to work. The 25-year-old stopped all 36 shots against the Nashville Predators on Thursday in a 4-0 victory at Bridgestone Arena.

Phil Kessel scored the only goal Bernier would need and set up scores by James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak for good measure. Toronto is averaging 3.2 goals per game this season.

"I'm trying to make the saves I need to make," Bernier said in The Toronto Star. "The focus here tonight was to get the two points we lost at home."

Who's hot: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has a goal and an assist in two games since rejoining the Oilers' lineup. … Bernier has an 0.85 goals-against average and .974 save percentage for the Maple Leafs in three starts and one relief appearance. Joffrey Lupul has three goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.

Injury report: Edmonton is without defensemen Corey Potter (back) and Denis Grebeshkov (groin) and forwards Sam Gagner (broken jaw), Steve MacIntyre (knee) and Jesse Joensuu (back). … Toronto defenseman Cody Franson left Thursday's game after being hit into the boards by Nashville forward Mike Fisher. He suffered facial lacerations and is day-to-day. Forwards Nikolai Kulemin (ankle) and Frazer McLaren (hand) and defenseman Mark Fraser (knee) are out, along with suspended forward David Clarkson.

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