Toronto vs Edmonton Preview: Little Separates Top Stanley Cup Contenders
Tonight sees the NHL’s best team take on its hottest in a Toronto Maple Leafs vs Edmonton Oilers matchup that will be must-see TV. The Maple Leafs lead the NHL in points, but the Oilers are charging hard and are the league’s hottest team.
Toronto Maple Leafs (15-4-2, 1st place North Division) vs Edmonton Oilers (14-8-0, 2nd place North Division) Preview
Dominant Duo Leading Leafs Early
It remains to be seen how justified the hype is, as there is a lot of hockey left to be played. But the Leafs’ blistering start is generating hope and hype that this could very well be their year. The Leafs have dominated the North Division in the first half of the season. It is rare for an NHL team to average over 1.5 points per game, but the Leafs are doing it.
Coming into today, the Leafs are in the league’s top five in goals per game (3.52) and in the top ten in goals against per game (2.62). Individually, Auston Matthews leads the NHL in goals with 18, while he and Mitch Marner are both in the top five in points. Netminder Frederik Andersen is on track for his best season since his first year in Toronto four years ago. Through 16 games, Andersen has posted a 2.69 GAA. Andersen has been out recently due to a lower-body injury, but Nicholas Hutchinson has filled in capably.
Oilers’ Own Dangerous Duo Powering Recent Run
The Oilers stumbled out of the gate, but that poor start has been forgotten at this point. Edmonton won only three of nine to start the season, but they have since won 11 of 13. As a result, the North Division now looks like a Toronto Maple Leafs vs Edmonton Oilers two-horse race.
There aren’t many teams that can match the M&M duo that the Leafs have. The Oilers are one of them, and their duo might be even better. Connor McDavid leads the league in points with 40, while Leon Draisaitl is second with 34. Both have played vital roles in the team’s current streak. Edmonton has won five straight and has eight wins in nine games.
The only discernible separation between the two teams might be on the defensive end. The Oilers have a 2.95 goals against average, which is inflated by their poor start. Edmonton has sharpened things up significantly since those early struggles. The Oilers allowed 33 goals in their first nine games, but they have allowed only 32 in their last 13 games.
Given the minimal separation in the standings or statistically, it is no surprise that there is no consensus about how tonight’s matchup will play out with either the result or the total.
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