The Day After 40.0: Oilers mount massive comeback to drop lowly Maple Leafs

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan McLeod
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
6 months ago
Ten straight wins prepared the Edmonton Oilers for Tuesday night.
They knew their toughest foe lay ahead in the Toronto Maple Leafs, who, despite skidding three straight, have always played the Oilers tough. And last night, McDavid vs. Matthews didn’t disappoint — for Oilers fans, that is.
But those out east thought it was theirs. After all, a wide-open Matthews gave the Leafs a lead a mere 27 seconds into this one.
What the Maple Leafs, who had a 2-0 lead halfway through the game, seemed to forget is just how the Oilers had won multiple times amid their 10, now 11-game winning streak. It’s by being patient.
So, it was no surprise when, in the final 25 minutes of the game, the Oilers were able to rattle off four unanswered goals. Ones by Leon Draisaitl, Derek Ryan, Ryan McLeod and Evan Bouchard, in that order, gave them a commanding 4-2 win.
“When you win 10 in a row, it’s a pretty confident group going into the third,” said McLeod, whose game-winner gave the Oilers just their third win in their last 10 games against the Leafs. “We went in with that confidence, and we came out on top.”


That confidence looks good on these Edmonton Oilers, who now, seemingly out of nowhere, are entering wagon status at the halfway mark of the season. While they still have ground to make up for their horrible start to the season, Tuesday’s win put them in the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference, now sitting just one point back of the LA Kings for the second spot and six back of the Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.
And don’t kid yourself. Even though a 13-point deficit sits between the Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks in the top of the division, Edmonton was 14 points back of the third spot in the division on November 24th.
Edmonton’s play against the Leafs should give you all the ponderance that they could reach such a feat this season.
“It’s not easy coming from behind, especially against a good team like the Maple Leafs,” said Oilers head coach Kris Konlauch. “But, I’ve said this many times, where we don’t get frustrated, we stick with the game plan, we don’t have to alter anything drastically, we don’t have to cheat on offence, we just have to work hard and make the little plays.
“Overall, I think we should have some more goals during the game, and sometimes it doesn’t work out. We’ve shown many times that when we stick with it, we have come through lately. We have to continue doing that.”
In that comeback, it’s not as though the Oilers strayed from their game plan much, if at all. There were some tweaks here and there, namely ones to get Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl together. Once, with Evander Kane on their wing, ended up with Draisaitl finding twine in the second. Then it was McLeod’s chance with just over three minutes left in the game, the score tied at two, and he made no mistake in scoring the game-winner.
There was no line blender. There was no McDavid and Draisaitl together late in the first period, or early in the second. There was no panic button. It was just calm.
Welcome to the new look Oilers.

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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