NHL Notebook: Edmonton Oilers third line is dominating, should the Toronto Maple Leafs start Joseph Woll in game four and Vancouver Canucks fined $50,000

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
11 months ago
It’s news to nobody how successful the Edmonton Oilers have been in these playoffs.
They’re scoring at will and have no sign of slowing down. The Oilers’ top-six has been putting in the work, to say the least. But what the team’s third line is doing can’t be discounted, either.
That line of Warren Foegele, Ryan McLeod and Derek Ryan have been one of the best in the post-season in terms of expected goal share controlling a staggering 83.3 percent of it on the ice at 5×5, according to moneypuck.com. They also have 2.5 expected goals for and 0.5 expected goals against, among the best numbers of any line in the post-season.
They’ve scored one goal and allowed one, but their dominant pace of play has been a huge help in wearing down the Oilers’ opposition. In this series against the Vegas Golden Knights, their play has been key.
While Ryan missed game one, McLeod has played 7:54 against Jack Eichel through the first two games of this series. With McLeod on the ice in this matchup at 5×5, the Oiles have controlled 66.67 percent of the shot attempts (12-6), 66.67 percent of the shots (8-4), 73.8 percent of the expected goal share (0.68-0.24) and a staggering 72.73 percent of the scoring chances (8-3).
In terms of actual goals, Eichel has outscored McLeod 1-0 on the ice, but that came off a tip in front in the third period of game one.
That being said, when we saw a healthy Oilers third line, they absolutely cooked in game two outshooting Vegas 4-1. Tonight, look for them to continue to play a big role for this Oilers team as they look to win back-to-back games.

Should the Leafs start Woll?

The Toronto Maple Leafs could be in a predicament when game four rolls around against the Florida Panthers as they face elimination. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov was injured early in the second period of game three and was forced out of the action.
Joseph Woll entered in relief turning aside 15/17 shots for a .857 save percentage, but as Daily Faceoff’s Mike McKenna argues, the Leafs should go back to him for game four — even if Samsonov is healthy.
Ilya Samsonov is hurt. Matt Murray hasn’t played in more than a month. And Joseph Woll has just 13 NHL games under his belt. So who should Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe turn to for Game 4 with his team on the brink of being eliminated from the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs?
For me, it’s Woll. End of story.
But in Monday’s media availability, Keefe was noncommittal as to which netminder would start Wednesday’s pivotal game in Sunrise.
But let me explain why I think Woll is the best option in goal for Toronto.
Even if Samsonov is available for Game 4, how healthy would the Russian netminder be? It’s widely known that he was battling something towards the end of the 2022-23 regular season. Who knows what Samsonov’s comfort level has been lately?
Regardless – as unfortunate as it was for Samsonov – his injury may have been a blessing in disguise for the Maple Leafs.
That’s because I think Woll is the most capable and consistent goaltender Toronto has. And I’ve been saying it for a while that I think having the former Boston College standout in the crease would provide the best chance of the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup.
At this point, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to the Florida Panthers would be a near miracle for Toronto. And I’m not expecting it to happen, especially considering how intentionally reckless Florida has played so far during the second round series. The Leafs have been far too passive and haven’t been able to match the intensity of the Panthers.

Canucks fined

The Vancouver Canucks have been fined $50,000 for violating the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported Monday.
The fine, according to Canucks reported Rick Dhaliwal, stem from on-ice training sessions held after the regular season ended. According to Dhaliwal, the sessions took place between April 17th-23rd and featured the Sedin twins, who work in the Canucks’ front office, working with up to six players including Dakota Joshua and Jack Studnicka.
“Clubs are not permitted to have club coaching or hockey operations personal participate in any on-ice session with players during the off-season,” Dhaliwal tweeted, adding that the club was warned fines could be significantly higher if the violation occurs again.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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