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NHL: Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens hope to make moves

NHL: Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens hope to make moves

It is gearing up to be another bumper-packed weekend of NHL action. There are plenty of games to look forward to, including Edmonton Oilers v Toronto Maple Leafs, which will have implications at the top of the Scotia North. We will bring you the lowdown on this crucial clash as well as others and chew over the main talking points.

Maple Leafs need to bounce back after firing blanks against Calgary Flames

At the time of writing, Maple Leafs head the Scotia North with a 14-4-2 record from 20 games. However, earlier this week they were stunned by the Calgary Flames, who ran out 3-0 winners. In just his fourth start of the campaign, Flames goaltender David Rittich produced an incredible display as he pulled off 34 saves, and he managed a shutout.

While the goals have flowed for the Maple Leafs, who have scored 76 times this campaign, they will be looking to make amends against the Flames before they take on the Oilers on Saturday evening. However, the injuries are racking up for the Maple Leafs with goaltender Frederik Anderson nursing a back injury while Alexander Barabanov and Scott Sabourin entered the NHL’s COVID protocol.

Strength in depth key to Maple Leafs success

Although the Maple Leafs have been struck by injuries at an inopportune time, there is plenty of strength in depth. The likes of centre Jason Spezza have picked up the slack, and he’s averaged 2.92 points per hour this term in a more fringe role. He also boasts a 52% expected goals mark.

Oilers keeping themselves in the hunt

The wins keep piling up for the Oilers. After recovering from a three-goal deficit, the Oilers edged out the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 and they look in good shape ahead of their showdown with the Maple Leafs. Against the Canucks, Leon Draisaitl orchestrated things, contributing three assists while Dominik Kahun tucked home two goals.

New York Islanders facing brutal week

For the New York Islanders, this season has already had its fair share of ups and downs. However, for a team that hasn’t been flushed with success in the Stanley Cup stakes, this week will test their mettle as they face the Boston Bruins before they come up against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Kasperi Kapanen gives Pittsburgh Penguins much-needed spark

Against the Islanders last weekend, the Penguins clinched a 3-2 win, but Kasperi Kapanen missed the closing stages of the match as Penguins coach Mike Sullivan decided to bench him. Although there have been issues over his form, Kapanen has come back with more impetus, and he injected a much-needed spark in the Penguins’ 3-2 midweek win over the Washington Capitals.

Kapanen hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with Sullivan, but his overtime winner against the Capitals will surely have put him in Sullivan’s good books. The finish against the Capitals was sublime as he opened up his body to create a shooting position before flashing an effort past Vitek Vanecek.

Pierre-Luc Dubois making all the right noises for the Winnipeg Jets

After joining the Jets last month in a trade that saw Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic head to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Dubois had big shoes to fill. But after an inauspicious start, Dubois has found his feet, and he made a significant contribution against the Canucks last weekend, notching up two goals and an assist in a 4-3 win.

The Canadiens, on the other hand, will be looking to stop the rot after suffering three defeats in the space of four days. Recently, the Canadiens have endured a 2-4-1 stretch, which is undoubtedly raising concerns over the long-term future of head coach Claude Julien. Added to that, they also have to resolve the contracts of key players Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar.

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