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NHL delays Oilers-Canadiens game one hour pending test results –



The NHL has delayed Thursday’s game between the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens from 7 p.m. ET to 8 p.m. ET to allow for the completion of the Oilers’ test results after a player entered the league’s COVID Protocol.

The Oilers began their current road trip against the Calgary Flames on Feb. 6. The team practised Thursday morning in preparation for their game vs. Montreal and were last in action against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

Currently, the NHL’s testing approach involves players and personnel taking one PCR test per day. However, because the tests must be processed in a laboratory, the turnaround time on receiving a result is slower than other means of testing. The NHL has been looking to increase the rate of rapid tests around the league.

A total of 35 games have been postponed in the NHL so far this season, however teams in the North Division have not had their schedule interrupted yet.

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Player grades: No joy in Mudville as Edmonton Oilers whitewashed 4-0 by Toronto – Edmonton Journal



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Maple Leafs 4, Oilers 0

Objects in first place may be further than they appear.

When Edmonton Oilers took to the ice on Saturday night for the opening game of a three-game set against Toronto, they had designs on overtaking the Maple Leafs’ four-point lead in the standings in the days to come. But the first move in that journey was a giant step backwards, as the homestanding Oilers were dominated 4-0 by a Toronto club missing its marquee player and its #1 goaltender. Playing without NHL goal scoring leader Auston Matthews, the rest of the Leafs checked like demons, giving Edmonton’s star players little room to weave their magic. They also took taking advantage of some wide open spaces at the other end of the ice and a couple of holes in a shaky Mike Smith.

In a game that featured just one powerplay for the two teams combined (and quickly resulted in the game winning goal for the visitors), the Oilers weren’t good enough at even strength. While they did generate a significant plurality in shot attempts (58-39), many of them were from the outside, and some of their best looks missed the target. Actual shots on goal were 30-29 Edmonton, but that included 14 shots by Oilers defencemen vs. just 6 by their counterparts in white and blue.  By the Cult of Hockey‘s count of Grade A scoring chances, the visitors held a 10-8 advantage (running count).


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Perhaps the shift that exemplified this game was when Dave Tippett sent out his “In Case Of Emergency, Break Glass” Line of McDavid, Draisaitl and Yamamoto for a late second period push that saw the Oilers threesome pinned below their own hashmarks for the entire shift by the Pierre Engvall trio. You know it’s not your night when…

Player grades

#4 Kris Russell, 4. Accomplished something no other player on either team was able to do when he took a penalty 14 minutes into the first period, the game still scoreless. 24 seconds later he took the “skate of shame” back to the bench and Toronto had the lead for good. Otherwise a quiet, solid game.

#6 Adam Larsson, 5. His night was epitomized by one play where he twice swung and missed at a slow pass across the slot, then deflected the subsequent shot on his own net.

#13 Jesse Puljujarvi, 5. One of the few Oilers who created some traffic in the low slot. 5 shot attempts, but just 1 on net when he was set up by Draisaitl.

#15 Josh Archibald, 5. Played with edge all night, landing a season-high 10 hits in the process. Was among the culprits on the Toronto powerplay goal. first losing a puck battle in the corner, then getting pushed by Joe Thornton into his own crease where he got in Smith’s way. He of all people was left to defend a wide-open 2-on-1 and did cut out Jason Spezza’s passing option; even as the Leafs veteran was able to convert all on his own with a nifty move it wasn’t on Archibald.

#16 Jujhar Khaira, 6. His line did its job, sawing off in 11 minutes and change. Played a solid 2-way game, landing 5 hits in the process. 1 decent shot from the edge of the crease, and a team best 63% on the dot (5/8).


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#21 Dominik Kahun, 4. Oilers controlled territorial play during his 14 minutes but created precious little of actual danger. 0 shots, and 0 involvement in Grade A scoring chances.

#22 Tyson Barrie, 3. Lost a battle on Toronto’s second goal, then had a bad read on the third when he jumped on the ice on a line change but with his partner already trapped up-ice on the rush. He didn’t recognize the danger of an imminent counter attack and got caught in no man’s land.

#25 Darnell Nurse, 3. Very active in the offensive end with 13 shot attempts, 7 of them on goal, both of which led the team by a mile. But most of those shots were from outside, and were in need of a deflection which never seemed to happen. Had a tough night in his own end, as he was on the ice for all 4 Toronto goals and was among the defensive culprits on 3 of them. Twice he dropped to a knee trying to stop Mitch Marner, and both times the shifty Leaf held the puck and beat him to the outside, once to set up a goal, the other time to score himself. Lost a battle in the corner on the game’s final tally.

#29 Leon Draisaitl, 4. Is reportedly banged up and it showed at times. Was repeatedly double-teamed by Leafs defenders along the wall and lost the majority of those battles. Had precious little support from his regular wingers; 2 of the 3 Grade A chances he was involved with came on a shift with Archibald, and the third when he set up Puljujarvi in the slot late in the game after Tippett switched out the lines. 2 giveaways but 3 takeaways. 5/12=42% on the dot in just 17:19 in ice time.  No issues defensively. Absorbed a heavy hit that almost dislodged his helmet, though no call was forthcoming on See No Evil Night at Rogers Place.


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#39 Alex Chiasson, 6. His line with Haas and P.Russell was Oilers’ best, holding a significant edge in play (shot attempts were 14-3 Oilers during his 13 minutes). Twice set up Haas for excellent chances. Played a hard physical game with 4 hits.

#41 Mike Smith, 3. After being at the very top of his game in Thursday’s shutout win in Vancouver, he was off his form on this night. He struggled to track the puck, to stay square to the shooter, and to control or even find rebounds. Got lucky more than once with quick whistles or uncontrolled rebounds that dribbled past the post. First two goals went right through him, while he was completely fooled by Spezza’s fake slapshot and move to the outside. Made a couple of decent stops along the way but rarely looked comfortable doing so. 29 shots, 25 saves, .862 save percentage.

#52 Patrick Russell, 5. 12 solid minutes on an effective depth line. 1 shot, 3 hits, plenty of grinding.

#56 Kailer Yamamoto, 4. Quiet, too quiet. 1 shot on net, a decent chance off a McDavid feed after the lines were shuffled.

#63 Tyler Ennis, 6. Very involved in this game. His 5 shot attempts were the most of any Oilers forward, even as he missed the target with his best opportunity, a clear slap shot from the slot after a Leafs turnover in the early going. Shortly after he was pushed into Toronto netminder Jack Campbell while driving the net, resulting in the one scrum of the game. Had a couple of issues on the defensive side of the puck, including a pair of giveaways.


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#74 Ethan Bear, 4. Still finding his game after a lengthy stint on IR. Among the defensive culprits on the first and last Toronto goals. Not much sign of his trademark outlet passing game.

#82 Caleb Jones, 5. Played 16:27, about 10 minutes of it with Bear before spending time with his early-season partner Larsson down the stretch. Had some issues defensively, but nothing costly. Did fire 3 shots on net, 1 of which produced a dangerous rebound.

#91 Gaetan Haas, 5. His line buzzed around at even strength and created a couple of decent chances. Continued to struggle on the faceoff dot (2/9=22%) to drop to below 40% on the season. One of those lost draws came at the beginning of the Toronto powerplay, leading directly to 24 seconds of pressure ending in a goal.

#93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 4. A very quiet night, with 2 harmless shots and 0 contributions to scoring chances. Unlucky on the third Toronto goal when he was driving the middle but McDavid’s pass to Nurse on the far wing caught his skate, creating a turnover and a quick counterattack. Oilers didn’t get enough from their stars in this game.

#97 Connor McDavid, 3. Speaking of which… Edmonton’s captain had a rare off night, beyond a solid 12/20=60% on the dot. Under heavy Leaf checking he generated precious little offensively (just 1 early shot and 1 other contribution to a Grade A chance) while also having a poor time of it at the defensive end. Was burned on all 3 of Toronto’s even-strength goals. Unlucky on the one detailed in the previous comment on RNH, but had no such excuse with weak backchecks on the second and fourth Toronto tallies. Not his night, nor his team’s.

Recently at the Cult of Hockey

McCURDY: Oilers first three-game set a showdown vs first-place Leafs

STAPLES: Everybody loves Jesse Puljujarvi, even his coach

STAPLES: Player grades — Brilliant goaltending at both ends as Oilers beat Canucks

McCURDY: Oilers have depth scoring! Oilers have depth scoring!

STAPLES: How to ramp up Yamamoto’s even-strength scoring

LEAVINS: Player grades in comeback win over the Canucks

McCURDY: Caleb Jones finally gets his chance

Follow me on Twitter @BruceMcCurdy


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Holl's physical decision in win versus Oilers a boost Maple Leafs could use every so often – Toronto Sun



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Good on Justin Holl to pounce toward the end of the first period on Saturday night.

After Tyler Ennis bumped Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell at the side of the net, Holl reacted immediately, sending a clear physical message to the Edmonton Oilers forward that getting contact on the netminder would be unwise.

“The importance of that, and not necessarily having to drop the gloves, but standing our ground and letting our opponent know we’re not going anywhere and we’re not going to tolerate those things and we’re going to protect our net (was big),” Leafs captain John Tavares said. “(Holl) has been solid for us and that’s a great sign of what he brings to our locker room and the maturity he has.”

Jake Muzzin’s puck flip aside, the Leafs didn’t do a heck of a lot after the Calgary Flames’ Matt Tkachuk kneed Campbell in the head during a game in January. What Holl did will go a long way in the room.

“Oh man, I could go on all day about Holler,” Campbell said. “He has stepped up so huge for us.

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“It just looks like fire in his belly. He wants those big minutes and he wants the opportunity to shut down their their top players every night. As a whole D corps, we played incredible. Holler led the way and he just looks super-confident. He has such a great attitude.”

Campbell’s shutout in the Leafs’ 4-0 win was his first with Toronto after two with the Los Angeles Kings. All three have come in Canada — in Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton.


Mitch Marner hadn’t gone three regular-season games without recording a point in more than two years, so why would it happen now? Marner and Tavares rekindled the chemistry they have enjoyed in the past, with the captain setting up Marner for the Leafs’ second goal. That came after Marner snapped his two-game slump (using that word loosely) with an assist on William Nylander’s opening goal … Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe on Tavares: “Defensively he was rock solid. John hasn’t got enough credit for how he has defended through this season.” With Auston Matthews out, Tavares had two assists and led the Leafs with five shots on goal and eight attempts and played a key role in keeping Connor McDavid off the board … Nylander scored the only two Toronto goals in an overtime win against Calgary on Wednesday and then got the Leafs’ first goal in 13 power plays when he was set up Marner at 14:37 of the first period. An unnatural hat trick for Nylander, if you will … There’s no such thing as a good giveaway, but some are more egregious than others, especially when they come in the defensive zone. In the first period, Alexander Barabanov fed McDavid, and later, Jimmy Vesey set up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers didn’t capitalize on either, much to the relief of each guilty Leaf … Jason Spezza’s goal was his 952nd point, tying him with Rick Tocchet for 102nd in NHL history. In Spezza’s sights are Larry Robinson (958 points) and Kirk Muller (in 100th with 959 points). Spezza’s goal came off a fake on an odd-man rush, a move he has made countless times to score. Guess it never comes up in the opposition’s pre-scout … Marner has 10 multi-point games this season … For the second time in a game, the Leafs were not shorthanded.

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Alex Galchenyuk has never played in the American Hockey League.

That’s about to change, and that’s a good thing. It indicates the Leafs are taking the right steps in attempting to get the hockey career of Galchenyuk, the third pick in the 2012 NHL draft, on track.

On Saturday, the Leafs loaned Galchenyuk and defenceman Martin Marincin to the Toronto Marlies. Reassigned to the taxi squad from the Marlies were forward Kenny Agostino and defenceman Timothy Liljegren.

After going 4-4 on an eight-game trip to start their regular season, the Marlies’ home opener comes on Monday against Manitoba.

Agostino had two goals and five assists on the trip. Liljegren had a goal and five assists and was the Marlies’ best player through the eight games.

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“Liljegren has been off to a good start, but regardless of that, is somebody that we’ve wanted to have around our group and it made sense now that we’ve been able to get him some games (with the Marlies),” Keefe said.

Nick Robertson, the Leafs’ top prospect, had one goal and six assists. He hasn’t been engaged all the time, though, and the organization wants to see his determination come more consistently before summoning him back to the NHL.

Keefe has said the Leafs will be patient with Galchenyuk, who was acquired from Carolina on Feb. 15. Toronto is Galchenyuk’s seventh NHL team in four seasons.

“Part of our plan was to get him playing and we would have made this move probably a little bit sooner had the Marlies not been out west,” Keefe said.


Zach Hyman has been able to gut through the pain that comes with blocking shots, earning further respect. “Not easy,” Keefe said. “He has been going through a lot of discomfort. We all know that when he puts his jersey on, he plays the same way no matter what.” And there was Hyman scoring a pretty goal in the third period … Saturday marked five years that the Leafs traded James Reimer to the San Jose Sharks. Reimer remains one of the better people to have come through the Toronto dressing room during my years covering the team.

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Report Cards: Complete team effort from Toronto Maple Leafs ends Oilers' winning streak – Maple Leafs Hot Stove



No Matthews, no problem.

After two periods of stellar play from their goaltender, the Leafs went into the final frame with a 3-0 lead — and played the best defensive period we’ve seen from them this season.

We’re obviously going to break down some of the offensive plays that helped them get that lead, not to mention Jack Campbell’s 30-save shutout. The real story here to me, though, is Toronto locking things down defensively against Connor McDavid & company en route to a 4-0 victory, a win that included:

  • A goal in each period
  • Going one-for-one on the power play, with zero penalties taken
  • Three 5v5 goals from three different lines
  • A shutout from their backup goaltender

This is a game the Leafs‘ coaches, front office, and fans can all appreciate for a multitude of reasons. Let’s dive into some of those by breaking down each player individually.

It’s time for some report cards!

5 Stars

Game Puck: Jack Campbell (G, #36) — It’s not easy keeping McDavid off the scoreboard, especially when he opens the game like this.

To make matters worse, the Leafs were turning the puck over in some brutal spots early on. Jimmy Vesey and Alex Barabanov each made a tape-to-tape pass to an Edmonton Oiler wide open in the slot — in their own end.

Campbell was forced to stop a lot of Grade-A chances from the slot. He stopped every one of them. The team in front of him helped make life easier in the back half of the game, but we still have to give the man credit for saving all 30 shots thrown his way.

It looks like his teammates agree.

Mitch Marner (RW, #16) — With Auston Matthews out of the lineup tonight nursing a wrist injury, Mitch Marner carried the load offensively. At 5-on-5, he was finding open teammates off the rush.

On the power play, he baited Mike Smith into going down early before skating around the net and finding William Nylander for the game’s first goal.

Soon after that, Marner found himself in a good shooting position off the rush.

You can tell he’s feeling more and more confident in his wrist shot with each passing game. He’s never going to shoot the puck like Auston Matthews, but if Marner can keep working on improvements to his shooting ability, it’s going to open up more options for him as a passer.

That’s a scary thought for a player who already has 10 goals and 22 assists in 22 games this season.

4 Stars

William Nylander (LW, #88) — Part of me always wondered why the Leafs play Nylander at left wing so often. “He’s a right shot, aren’t almost all wingers better on their strong side?”

Then you watch him make plays as a passer from that side of the ice and it starts to make more sense.

That’s a great read by Zach Bogosian to pass it backdoor, but it’s Nylander reversing play to the weak side that opens up all that ice.

Not many players can gain the zone like Nylander and complete an east-west pass afterward, especially when they’re carrying the puck on their off-wing. Full disclosure: Nylander actually played right wing tonight, but with the way he attacks in transition, he’s equally likely to enter the zone from either side.

He also scored that goal on the power play, by the way.

TJ Brodie (RD, #78) — It’s a tall task to defend McDavid 1-on-1 off the rush multiple times a game. Brodie did an excellent job for my money, not letting #97 get around him and getting his stick on the puck most of the time. His most impactful play was a diving poke to create a 2-on-1 goal for Jason Spezza.

Morgan Rielly (LD, #44) — Few players make me think more about the position as a whole than Morgan Rielly. He activates into the play any time he sees an opportunity, often acting as the team’s fourth forward in offensive situations.

This is the OZ movement that makes Toronto so difficult to defend. Rielly has a knack for finding open ice, skating into it, and finding that next pass across the grain for a Grade-A scoring chance.

Rielly accomplished that a few times in this game, not to mention a stretch pass up the ice to Mikheyev, where he shockingly didn’t convert.

Marner’s Linemates — I say this jokingly. John Tavares and Joe Thornton had great games themselves, although it certainly helps to play alongside an all-world playmaker.  Tavares was able to generate two assists, eight shot attempts, and five chances from the slot, both ranking first on the team tonight. After some of the flack he has received, that’s a statement game against touch matchups and without Matthews in the lineup.

Thornton had a couple of great moments himself, most notably his one-touch pass in the neutral zone to get Marner and Tavares in open space for the game’s second goal. I did get a bit worried watching Thornton try to keep up with McDavid on the backcheck, but his playmaking and work down low helped make up for it.

Zach Hyman (RW, #11) — We all expect him to win puck battles and provide big-time value defensively, so no surprises there tonight. What impressed me the most was the fact that Hyman was driving the offense. It wasn’t pretty, but with Mikheyev-Engvall as his linemates, it was never going to be.

Okay, maybe that one was pretty.

The Dermott-Bogosian Pair — It was cool to see Travis Dermott using his skating ability to open up passing lanes from the top of the OZ. He usually isn’t much of a threat from there, but he managed to pull off a few crafty passes from that spot.

Defensively, Toronto’s third pair got stuck out against the McDavid line a few times, which is where Zach Bogosian really stood out. Defense is one of those things that’s so difficult to measure, but if you go back and watch those shifts, that’s defense. Bogosian kept McDavid out of the dangerous areas, getting a body on him when he could.

3 Stars

Jason Spezza (RW, #19) — 2-on-1 with Jimmy Vesey, you’re thinking shoot all the way, right? Jason Spezza went with the move everyone saw coming — and it still worked. He’s been doing the fake slapshot for 20 years and goaltenders are still biting on it.

Maybe it’s because he’s one of the few guys in the league actually willing to let one go from distance. After all, it’s part of the reason Toronto’s second PP unit has been so effective these past two seasons.

Spezza has been quarterbacking that thing from the right wall, and as you saw on that goal, he’s still dangerous in open ice from that right circle.

Wingspan Ilya Mikheyev and Pierre Engvall deserve each other.

Defensively, they cover so much ground. Whether it’s an OZ forecheck or NZ trap, it’s super annoying for opposing forwards to skate through a wall of limbs poking at the puck.

Offensively, you probably shouldn’t expect too much. Mikheyev is still launching the puck from distance when he has wide-open ice in front of him.

Engvall has more confidence skating north-south with the puck, but his inability to make that next play after gaining the zone is why he only had five points in his last 42 games.

The Muzzin-Holl Pair — They got out-possessed at even strength to the tune of a lopsided 23-6 in shot attempts, but they broke even and didn’t give up a goal in their 8-9 minutes against Connor McDavid. It is worth noting Jake Muzzin was playing his first game since suffering a broken bone in his face. He made a few great underneath passes in the defensive zone. The pairing spent a little too much time in the defensive zone, although score effects likely play a role here.

As for Justin Holl, we need to give him some credit for coming to the defense of his goaltender on the Tyler Ennis collision.

A common frustration I’ve heard with this Leafs team is that they don’t stand up for each other enough in these instances. Holl answered the bell here, albeit on a 5’9 161lb winger.

2 Stars

Alex Kerfoot (C, #15) — Despite the odd burst of speed here and there, this was a pretty quiet game for Kerfoot. It was also a quiet night for Travis Boyd.

Alex Barabanov (LW, #94) — It’s good that Barabanov is getting more chances from in tight, but he needs to be more ready in those situations. We already mentioned his awful DZ turnover earlier, which resulted in a high-quality chance for Edmonton.

One last thing I wanted to mention was his board-play; he’s getting killed in those parts of the ice. If Barabanov wants to prove he can hang in an NHL top nine (or top 12), he’ll need to stop turning pucks over while getting pasted into the boards.

1 Star

Jimmy Vesey (LW, #26) — It’s almost a running joke at this point. I genuinely feel bad doing this section now. Aside from his “Big Mistake”, Vesey failed to receive basic passes in transition and get play going in the right direction.

Aside from a bit of PK value, you’ve got to ask yourself what exactly does Vesey do for this Leafs team?

Heat Map

Here’s a quick look at where each team’s shots were coming from at even strength, courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.

Game Score

Game score is a metric developed by The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn to measure single-game performance. You can read more about it here.

Final Grade: A

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