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Preview: Maple Leafs at Oilers

Auston Matthews of Toronto, Connor McDavid of Edmonton set to meet for second time

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (9-8-4) at OILERS (12-9-2)

9 p.m. ET; NBCSN (joined in progress), SNW, TSN4, NHL.TV 

 
Maple Leafs team scope

Center Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs will face Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers for the second time this season. Matthews, who has three goals and an assist in his past two games, was held scoreless in the Maple Leafs' 3-2 overtime victory over the Oilers on Nov. 1 at Toronto. "[The first game] is not something you think about at all," said Matthews, the Maple Leafs second-leading scorer with 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 21 games. "It's going to be another good challenge for us. They're going to be a fired-up team. We definitely had a very good game against them the last time, [center] Nazem [Kadri] came up big for us. I thought he played great and we were strong defensively." Kadri scored the overtime winner against the Oilers four weeks ago. Toronto will begin a three-game Western Canada road trip without center William Nylander, who will miss his second straight game with an upper-body injury. "Things went good for us [in the first game against Oilers], let's not kid ourselves," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "We were at home, we had good matchups and played hard and were good defensively. We're going to have to do a better job on the road; we don't have last change on the road."

 

Oilers team scope

The Oilers are hoping to play more of an offensive game against the Maple Leafs, the sixth-highest scoring team in the NHL with 66 goals this season. Edmonton and the Montreal Canadiens are tied for fourth, with 67 goals. The Oilers were held to three goals in back-to-back losses against the Arizona Coyotes last Friday and Sunday. "I don't know if that's the game [the Maple Leafs are] going to want to play," said McDavid, who leads the NHL in scoring with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists), including 10 points (five goals, five assists) in a five-game point-scoring streak. "I don't think they're going to want to play that open kind of style, but Arizona definitely was defensive and they did a good job shutting everything down. [The Maple Leafs] play a tough game, they made a pretty good emphasis of not letting me come through the middle with any speed or really touch the puck at all. It's nothing I haven't seen before and something I'll have to figure out pretty quick here." McDavid is expected to see a lot of Kadri on Tuesday. "Sometimes it's easier to get the matchup you want on the road," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "If Nazem is going to check against Connor, as soon as Connor comes out, or he's not out, they change him and just match."

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitchell Marner

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Connor Brown

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Nikita Soshnikov

Matt Martin - William Nylander - Ben Smith

Morgan Rielly - Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Peter Holland, Frank Corrado, Martin Marincin

Injured: Josh Leivo (lower body), William Nylander (upper body), Joffrey Lupul (sports hernia)

 

Oilers projected lineup

Milan Lucic - Connor McDavid - Jesse Puljujarvi

Patrick Maroon - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot - Leon Draisaitl - Tyler Pitlick

Matt Hendricks - Mark Letestu - Zack Kassian

Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera - Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse - Matthew Benning  

Cam Talbot

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Drake Caggiula, Anton Slepyshev, Eric Gryba

Injured: Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Brandon Davidson (upper body) 

 

Status report

Lucic did not take part in the Oilers morning skate, but is expected to play. … Pitlick will be back in the Edmonton lineup after being a healthy scratch for the first time this season Sunday. Andersen is expected to start for the Maple Leafs. He is 3-2-0 in his past five games, despite allowing two goals or fewer in all of them. … Talbot is expected to start for the Oilers. He's 3-1-1 in his past five games, allowing two goals or fewer in four of them.

 
Who's hot

Lucic has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past four games after having one goal and one assist in his previous 11 games. … Draisaitl has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past seven games after having one goal and one assists in his previous 12 games. … Kadri has two goals and an assist in his past three games.

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