The Edmonton Oilers completely dismantled the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at the Air Canada Centre. In 41 career games in Toronto, Edmonton had never shutout the Maple Leafs in Toronto.
The Leafs couldn’t win for losing this game. The Leafs were able to launch 33 shots on Khabibulin. They scored zero times. Edmonton was able to pin 19 shots on the Leafs, scoring five separate occasions.
It gets better.
Everything that could’ve gone right for Edmonton did, and anything that could’ve gone wrong for Toronto did. The Oilers got a lucky break when Oiler winger Jordan Eberle scored on a bad angle shot that Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson likely would’ve stopped 99 times out of 100.
If the first period were a round of boxing, it easily would’ve been scored for the Maple Leafs. No matter, Eberle’s marker was the only one that was scored in the first. Once the second period began, the Oilers made the most of Toronto’s miscalculations throughout the remainder of the game.
Taylor Hall scored on a backhand that sailed behind Gustavsson’s left shoulder. Having yielded two goals on six shots, Gustavsson got the hook, and J.S. Gigeure manned the nets. It didn’t matter.
You’ve heard those goals that are rewarded with hard work and going to the net? This is one of them right here. Paajarvi goes to the net and takes the shot, and Sam Gagner is there to clean it up.
That kind of goal is a killer, and it plagued last year’s Oilers. Last minute goals will usually get you hollered at in the locker room, but allowing Paajarvi to skate in nearly unscathed with three seconds left is a dynamite killer.
Two more in the third period gives it a 5-0 finish. To the bullets.
- Nikolai Khabibulin was spot on. I’ll be the first to admit that I was more than a bit apprehensive about The Bulin Wall being the third goalie to suit up for Edmonton in as many games, but he delivered on every save. 33 saves is good enough for Khabibulin’s second shutout this year, and a shutout is something Edmonton hasn’t done in Toronto ever. There’s got to be something said here for rest.
- TAYLOR HALL is getting better every game. Hall had two goals tonight, and as you can see in the photo to your right, he’s also responsible for one Leaf fan throwing their sweater on the ice in disgust. Schadenfreude.
- Jordan Eberle was a big player against the Leafs. Eberle had the game’s first goal and two assists to round out his sushi boat for the night.
- Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle are currently tied for second place on the Oilers in scoring. Gagner earned Edmonton’s third goal by going to the net and collecting Magnus Paajarvi’s rebound when time nearly expired in the second period.
- Ryan Jones doesn’t score goals every day, it’s true.
But when he does, it’s time to break out the Canada Cooler.
SO WHAT NOW?
The Oilers are currently 9-12-4, which doesn’t look like much. When you consider four days ago they were 6-12-4, that’s a pretty nice improvement over half a week. Enjoy these victories. Last year, that Oilers team somehow figured out how to win five in a row before starting what turned into Winless January™ in a game in Los Angeles. I’m not trying to say that this could happen with this year’s Oilers, but it wouldn’t shock me to see them fall into another six game winless streak.
Enjoy the wins. Maybe in six or seven years you’ll be at a bar with something cool in front of you, and you’ll remember what it was like when the lowly Oilers sailed into Toronto and beat ‘em up by five notches. And if the Oilers turn this current winning streak of three into something more, well, then we can start breaking stuff to catch up for lost time.
The Oilers are back at Rexall Place this Saturday to take on the St. Louis Blues. You may begin pregaming…now.