The Toronto Maple Leafs won their fourth in a row, dropping the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 Thursday night at Rogers Place.
Jason Spezza gave the Leafs a 1-0 lead halfway through the first. After the Oilers turned the puck over behind their own net, Spezza’s backhand leaked through Edmonton goaltender Mikko Koskinen. Later in the period, Toronto forward William Nylander scored just as a penalty to Oilers forward Kyle Turris expired.
LISTEN BELOW: Mikko Koskinen
Edmonton’s James Neal had two great chances to put the Oilers on the board in the second. He got in behind the defence but his backhand was stopped by Toronto netminder Freddie Andersen. Then, on a power play, he weaved across the front of the net but lost control of the puck before he could flip it in.
“We had enough chances to win that game tonight, but you tempt fate when you give a good power play opportunities. They’re going to score,” Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said after the game.
“You’ve got to find ways to win and find ways not to lose. That’s what bothers me, is we’re making mistakes that are taking away from a chance to win.”
LISTEN BELOW: Dave Tippett
With the Oilers on a two-man advantage late in the second, Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl ripped home a one-timer to score for the fifth straight game. He struck again seven minutes into the third, again on a power play, nudging a backhand by Andersen.
The Leafs hopped back ahead 56 seconds later on a power-play deflection by Wayne Simmonds. The Oilers came back again with Zack Kassian lifting a rebound over Andersen with 8:48 on the clock.
“I liked how we were able to find ways to get back to even, but when we get it to even, we’ve got to hold it there and keep building on that,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said.
Leafs forward Auston Matthews wired a shot home with 6:24 left for another power-play tally.
Nylander went off for tripping with 2:52 left, but the Oilers couldn’t tie it up.
“Penalty killing is sacrificing and getting in lanes and getting saves, and the last two goals, our players didn’t want to get in the lane, and we didn’t get a save, so we end up on the back end of it,” Tippett said. “There’s a lot of try — I thought there was some good things in the game — but ultimately we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.”
“I thought the third period was pretty good minus a couple of penalties and some (penalty kill) goals against,” McDavid said. “(There was) lots of power plays both ways and it was kind of a weird game, but I thought our game wasn’t where it needed to be at all.”
LISTEN BELOW: Connor McDavid
The Leafs power play was 2 for 4 to go to 42.8 per cent on the season.
The Oilers and Leafs will play again Saturday night at 8 p.m. MT.
“We’re nine games in, I think we’re done figuring it out here. I think we need to start putting together games,” McDavid said.
–With files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott