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The Maple Leafs hope they can sweep a three-game series against arguably the second-best team in the North Division in the Edmonton Oilers. The Maple Leafs have not only won the first two games of this series, but also shutout one of the best offenses in the process in both victories. Moreover, the victories came without their best player Auston Matthews, who is day-to-day with an injury. The Oilers are seeking revenge and hope to end the skid with a bounce-back game and a reminder that they have one of the best offenses in the game.
Maple Leafs defense steps up in Matthews absence
The Maple Leafs were forced to play the last two games without one of the best scorers in the game in Auston Matthews, who has 18 goals on the season. While many thought this would hurt the Maple Leafs’ chances of winning, the defense stepped up and shutout the Oilers in both games, led by TJ Brodie and Jake Muzzin who have combined for 3.3 defensive point shares on the season. In addition, the Maple Leafs shutout the Oilers without their starting goaltender Fredrik Anderson and had to rely on the backup duo of Jack Campbell and Michael Hutchinson.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 2, 2021
While the defense stepped up in the recent wins, the offense has continued to look like one of the best in the NHL. Mitch Marner is in the midst of a career year, scoring 10 goals and 23 assists but Zach Hyman and William Nylander have emerged in Matthews absence, scoring in the recent victories and combining for 15 goals on the season. Morgan Reilly has also helped on the offensive end and is emerging as a great two-way player for the team as he has 15 assists on the season.
Oilers hope star scorers can step up
The Oilers have two of the best players in the game in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl but in the last two games, the duo has looked invisible. If the Oilers are going to bounce back, they need McDavid, who has 14 goals on the season, and Draisaitl, who has 10 goals this season to start to find the back of the net.
The defense has been playing well in the recent games but a few costly goals have given them two losses. Usually a liability, the defense has played well this season led by Darnell Nurse who has 2.1 defensive point shares and 43 blocked shots this season. In addition, Adam Larsson has blocked 73 shots this season and has emerged as a more valuable defenseman this season as a result. In addition, Mike Smith has emerged as a great backup goaltender, allowing only 1.8 goals per game.
Oilers are 7-2 in their last 9 games playing on 1 day’s rest.
Oilers are 11-4 in their last 15 overall.
Oilers are 11-4 in their last 15 vs. NHL.
Oilers are 11-4 in their last 15 vs. North.
Oilers are 7-3 in their last 10 games following a home loss of 3 or more goals.
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Oilers have been blanked twice and have looked significantly weaker than the Maple Leafs in this series. However, a rebound game is all but inevitable after two games of being shutout. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl should be able to find the back of the net a few times with an improved offense and should be able to create odd-man rushes against a defense that is good but can only play well against great players for so long. Likewise, the Oilers should give Mike Smith the nod again in the net and the defense should play better collectively to keep the Maple Leafs offense in check. The Oilers should win this game and end the series on a high note.
Want another opinion on this pick?
Full-Game Total Pick
The last two games have been defensive battles with the Maple Leafs only adding on a few goals to win handily. Both defenses have played well and in particular, the Maple Leafs have done an excellent job containing McDavid and Draisaitl. This game can be the one where the floodgates open and the goals start to pile in with McDavid and Draisaitl finally breaking through the Maple Leafs defense and the Maple Leafs potent offense continuing to find the back of the net with the potential of Auston Matthews returning to the lineup to add that extra punch to the offense. The Over should cover with both offenses constantly finding the back of the net.