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RECAP: Maple Leafs 3, Oilers 0

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

TORONTO, ON– In his NHL debut, Maple Leafs goaltender Garret Sparks provided all the ignition needed to burn the Oil.

Toronto got a 24-save shutout performance from the 22-year-old goaltender as the home team handed the Oilers a 3-0 loss.

“In my experience with a guy, he’s either hitting a home run or maybe not doing very well at the plate, and the young fella had a great game tonight,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “He had some help with posts and that happens usually.”

With Leon Draisaitl in the penalty box for hooking, the Maple Leafs opened scoring. At 6:45 of the first, Leo Komarov redirected a centring feed from James van Riemsdyk to put the Leafs up 1-0. Dion Phaneuf recorded the second assist.

With 5:53 to go in the second, Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fired a shot off the crossbar on a 2-on-1, which could have tied the game.

Oilers netminder Anders Nilsson continues to give his team a chance to win games. Nilsson turned away 13 shots in the second period to keep it at 1-0.

With less than a minute left in the second, Draisaitl gave Edmonton a great chance to tie. The Oilers young centre used a great move to get by Matt Hunwick, and draw a hooking penalty. His backhand resulted in a Sparks save and Taylor Hall was in front but sprawled on the ice and couldn’t bury. The Oilers went on the man advantage but couldn’t capitalize.

At 7:33 of the third, Nazem Kadri tipped in a Jake Gardiner shot past Nilsson to put the Leafs up 2-0. Van Riemsdyk recorded the second assist.

Komarov scored the empty-net insurance goal with 1:01 left to play.

“I didn’t think we were a very hard team,” said McLellan. “I didn’t think we stood over a lot of pucks, I didn’t think we won a lot of battles along the boards, I didn’t think we were competitive enough in a lot of areas to come up with a victory. I thought the blue team was physically stronger than we were in a number of different areas. Their power play and penalty kill were better than ours. When that happens, you’re usually on the losing end."

The Oilers fall to 8-15-2 on the season and return to Edmonton for a five-game homestand, beginning Wednesday night with a game against the Boston Bruins.
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