The Toronto Maple Leafs win their seventh-straight game in Edmonton with a 4-1 victory on Hockey Night in Canada
EDMONTON, AB - It wasn't a Hockey Night in Canada dominated by the big guns.
Instead of names like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Leon Draisaitl and Mitch Marner, it was the peripheral players who made the biggest impact in a 4-1 win for the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Place that extends their winning ways in Edmonton to seven straight games.
Frederik Anderson made 36 saves to improve to 12-0-1 against the Oilers, winning his 200th career NHL game and becoming the fastest European netminder to accomplish the feat.
"There's lots of try in our group," Head Coach Dave Tippett said post-game. "We just have to find ways to turn that try into better results."
Alex Kerfoot scored his fifth goal in six games against the Oilers just 4:38 into the contest after the noise of a bipartisan crowd at Rogers Place swayed quickly from Mikko Koskinen robbing Pierre Engvall with the outstretched left pad moments before.
The Oilers trailed at the first intermission for the fourth-straight game.
"I thought we had a pretty good start," Connor McDavid said. "They obviously get one fairly early and we're behind and chasing it, but I thought we did a good job competing and working hard."
Kerfoot then played the role of provider to help Toronto double their lead five minutes into the middle frame, making an unselfish pass to Ilya Mikheyev at the left post after finding himself alone on the Oilers doorstep.
The Oilers extended their streak of games with a power-play goal to seven when Alex Chiasson stormed in on a rush and drove the puck five-hole under Frederik Andersen, cutting Toronto's lead to one 6:08 into the final 20 minutes.
The power play's been efficient for the Oilers this season as the top unit in the NHL, but the play at even strength hasn't followed.
"We have to find a way to stay in games 5-on-5," defenceman Oscar Klefbom said. "I think it was one of those tough games. We did a lot of good things. It was a tight game and we have to find ways to win these kinds of games."
"To be a playoff team, even to get one point, you have to stay in the game. Our power play's been good all year, our PK's been good all year, so it's the 5-on-5 that we've been struggling a bit with."
Reuniting McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on a line with Zack Kassian tonight was done by Tippett to maximize the Dynamic Duo's impact at 5-on-5 to go hand-in-hand with their power-play influence.
Outside of a Draisaitl assist on Chiasson's fourth goal of the season, the Oilers top line was neutralized for the majority of the contest.
"5-on-5 we have to be way better," McDavid said. "Our special teams have been good. 5-on-5 we have to be better and find a way to produce goals and keep it out of our net."
The dagger came when Frederik Gauthier found the space to lift the 3-1 goal top shelf over Koskinen with 6:11 on the clock before Marner's empty-net goal went down as a PPG despite the Oilers pulling their netminder late.
"That's frustrating," McDavid said of Gauthier's goal that restored the two-goal lead for Toronto. "You just need to hold them at two and give yourself a chance to tie the game. We didn't do that."
After becoming the last team in the NHL to lose three games in a row, the Oilers drop their fourth straight and fall to 18-13-4 on the season as they deal with the adversity from a 2-6-1 record in their last nine contests.
"Losing four in a row is not good enough," McDavid said. "It's been a stretch a little bit longer than that too, so we have to find a way to put some wins together here."
A two-game road trip for the Oilers begins Monday against the Dallas Stars.
"It starts on the road. It's a good opportunity to play two real good teams and see where we're at," McDavid said.