Coming off a 4-3 OT win on Saturday, the Leafs take on the Oilers for one final time this (regular) season tonight, and they’ll be doing so with Michael Hutchinson in net. In the two teams’ games this season, the Leafs are 6-1-1, and all 3 of their goalies have played (and won) against the Oilers.
Saturday was arguably Jack Campbell’s shakiest game so far this season, and the team in front of him struggled to hit the net, as well; though they finally overcame a 2-goal deficit to tie the game at 3 apiece late in the third period. And Auston Matthews finally got over his snake bite, scoring the OT winner. While the Leafs are now on a 3-game winning streak, two of those three have been in overtime, which is not necessarily ideal when the divisional race is tight.
As the Leafs look to extend their winning streak, and hopefully pull it off in regulation, the Oilers are smarting from yet another loss to a team they want to get the best of. They’ll be hungry for the win, and with Hutchinson in net for the Leafs you can bet that Edmonton will try to come out strong offensively. The Leafs will need to play tight defense, but will also need to dial up their own offense and keep the puck away from Edmonton’s dynamic duo.
Toronto Maple Leafs
As mentioned, Hutch will be in net for the Leafs tonight, as Campbell wasn’t feeling great coming off Saturdays game, and the team is managing his workload, per Keefe. In his last game against the Oilers, Hutch recorded a shutout. However, in his last start for the Leafs (against Ottawa), he was pulled early in the first period. The thing with Hutch, as Jon and I mentioned on the Channel 6ix pod today, is that you never know which version of him you’re getting. He could record a shutout against Connor McDavid’s team, or he could get pulled against the Senators. We’ll see which version we get tonight! The Oilers are likely to give Mike Smith the start again, as he looked solid in net on Saturday for the majority of the game. While the Leafs managed to sneak out the win against him, he kept them at bay for much of the game. He’s also having an overall strong showing this season, with an 11-3-1 record and a .918 save percentage. The Leafs will have to work a bit harder tonight if they want to both keep the puck way from Hutch, and hit the net more often.