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G68 Game Notes: Edmonton Oilers look to sweep season series against Toronto Maple Leafs

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Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
26 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers will begin a three-game road trip against Canadian teams on Saturday when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs. They’ll head to Ottawa to play the Senators on Sunday and then they’ll finish the trip off against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
1. Back in January, Edmonton hosted the Leafs and won by a score of 4-2. The Oilers now have an opportunity to sweep their season series with Toronto for the first time since the 1988-89 season. The Leafs have swept the head-to-head multiple times in the Connor McDavid era, including seven consecutive wins over the Oilers between 2016-17 and 2019-20.
Last season, the Oilers and Leafs split their two games against each other. Edmonton beat the Leafs 5-2 at home at the beginning of March in Mattias Ekholm’s debut with the club and Toronto returned the favour a couple of weeks later with a 7-4 victory. That loss in Toronto was Edmonton’s last in regulation during the 2022-23 regular season, as they went 14-0-1 the rest of the way.
2. The Oilers will need a big run again this season if they’re going to catch the Vancouver Canucks for the top spot in the Pacific Division. Edmonton has a 42-21-4 record, eight points back of the Canucks with three games in hand. Vancouver won all three meetings against Edmonton early in the season and the two teams will play once more in April.
The Leafs have a 39-20-9 record and are in third place in the Atlantic Division. They’re seven points behind the Florida Panthers, ten points behind the Boston Bruins, and five points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
3. All eyes are going to be on Zach Hyman on Saturday as the Toronto native and former Leaf looks to reach the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career. Hyman scored two goals in Edmonton’s commanding 8-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres earlier this week and now has 48 goals on the season.
When Hyman signed with the Oilers in the summer of 2021, his career-high in goals was 21, which he scored in 71 games in 2018-19 and in 51 games in 2019-20. He’s reached a new career-high in goals in each of his three seasons with the Oilers, going from 27 goals in 2021-22 to 36 goals in 2022-23 to 48 and counting in 2023-24.
Through his three seasons in Edmonton, Hyman has scored 111 goals in 221 games. His goals-per-game pace has doubled since signing with the Oilers, as Hyman scored 86 goals in 345 games across six seasons in Toronto. He’s undoubtedly been the best free-agent signing the Oilers have ever made.
4. Another interesting statistic to follow as the regular season winds down is Connor McDavid’s pursuit of becoming just the fourth player in NHL history to record 100 points in a single season. He had four assists in the win over Buffalo and now has 86 on the season with 15 games left on the schedule.
The only three players ever to record 100 assists in a season are Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Bobby Orr. Gretzky did so a whopping 11 times during his career while Lemieux and Orr reached 100 assists once each. Adam Oates came close with 97 assists in 1992-93 and Joe Thornton did as well with 96 assists in 2005-06.
5. This could be a high-scoring game as the Leafs rank third in the league in goals this season with 246 and the Oilers aren’t far behind them with 240.
Toronto’s Big Four have combined to score 143 of the team’s goals this season. Auston Matthews leads the way with 57 goals and will likely take home the third Rocket Richard Trophy of his career this summer. William Nylander has 38 goals and is closing in on a new career-high while Mitch Marner and John Tavares have 25 and 23 goals, respectively.
Neither has been confirmed at the time of writing, but it looks like Stuart Skinner and Ilya Samsonov will be the starting goaltenders on Saturday. Skinner stopped 25 of 27 shots in Edmonton’s win over Toronto earlier this season while Martin Jones was tagged with the loss after giving up three goals on 31 shots.

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