First it’s Oil Country, then it’s onto the Red Mile, then out to mountain country as the Toronto Maple Leafs are out on their first western road swing of the young season.
With Tyler Bozak on the injury reserve and Joffrey Lupul’s foot not looking any better, along with the addition of Sam Gagne back into the Edmonton lineup, the younger Oilers are licking their chops waiting for tonight.
Tonight’s game marks their opportunity for revenge from Oct. 12 when Leafs stole one from the visiting Oilers, winning 6-5 in OT after Lupul scored with 30 seconds remaining to tie the game at 5-5.
The Maple Leafs look to keep pace with and perhaps pass the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. Each team has 16 points, with the Lightning visiting the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.
Toronto is coming off of a 4-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night in which James Reimer made 37 saves. It was the ninth straight game the Maple Leafs were outshot and the 10th time in 12 games this season.
“[Reimer] was unbelievable. Anybody who’s in net, when you can have confidence in both your goalies … we were getting outshot there and we still were battling hard and knew we were going to win this game. It’s a credit to how both of these tenders have played throughout this season,” David Clarkson told the Maple Leafs website after the game.
The other big story of this game should be the lineup changes Head Coach Randy Carlyle will be making in lieu of the Bozak injury. This means that Nazem Kadri should be bumped up to the team’s first line so he will centre James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel; the same line that spelled all kinds of trouble for the Boston Bruins last spring in Games 6 & 7.
Reimer was making his first start since a head injury caused him to leave a game Oct. 17 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Oilers: The Oilers lost another tough game Sunday, 2-1 to the Kings in a shootout. Emergency call-up Richard Bachman got the start and stopped 47 shots. The Oilers are now 2-6 in one goal games.
“You’re just trying to get the feel of it there quickly. The first period was pretty routine in terms of shots against, but it was nice. They had a couple of long shots and I was able to see almost all of them, which helped me get into a rhythm and helped me get into a groove out there,” Bachman said after the game.
Bachman was making his first start of the season because Devan Dubnyk was out with an ankle injury and backup Jason LaBarbera was coming off of a rough outing on Saturday night. His teammates didn’t help him much with only 18 shots on goal. Los Angeles had 23 in the third period.
Who’s hot: Nail Yakupov is off to a slow start with three points this season, but they’ve all come in the past five games for the Oilers. … Phil Kessel has five goals in three games for the Maple Leafs.
For Toronto, forwards Nikolai Kulemin (ankle), Tyler Bozak (lower body) and defenseman Mark Fraser (knee) are on injured reserve for the Maple Leafs. Lupul (foot) is questionable.
For Edmonton, Dubnyk (ankle) and forward Tyler Pitlick (knee) missed Sunday’s game, while forwards Sam Gagner (jaw), Steve MacIntyre (knee), Corey Potter (back), Ryan Hamilton(knee), Jesse Joensuu (back), Ryan Smyth (groin) and Taylor Hall (knee) are all on IR for the Oilers.