By Shane Jones, The Canadian Press on January 16, 2024.
EDMONTON – Ryan McLeod had a goal and assist as the red-hot Edmonton Oilers rallied from behind to record their franchise-record 11th consecutive victory, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Tuesday.
Leon Draisaitl, Derek Ryan and Evan Bouchard also scored for the Oilers (24-15-1), who have gone 19-3-0 in their last 22 games.
Auston Matthews and Morgan Rielly responded with goals for the Maple Leafs (21-13-8), who have lost four straight.
Toronto got off to a terrific start to the contest, scoring on its first shift just 27 seconds in. Mitch Marner was able to get a pass across to Matthews, who rifled in his league-leading 34th goal of the season before Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner could get across the crease.
The Leafs almost added to that lead just over a minute later as Tyler Bertuzzi redirected a shot that rang off the post.
Edmonton outshot Toronto 12-7 in the first period, but could not get anything past Leafs goalie Martin Jones, including a point-blank opportunity for Connor Brown.
Toronto had another great chance early in the second as William Nylander was sent in on a breakaway, but Skinner got a piece of his shot with his glove and it caromed of the crossbar.
The Maple Leafs hard work was rewarded with nine minutes to play in the second period as Rielly picked up a puck that was pinballing in front of the net and sent it through Skinner’s legs for his seventh.
Edmonton looked to have got that goal back shortly after on a tremendous individual effort by Zach Hyman, but a quick video review determined that the Oilers were offside on the play.
The Oilers finally got on the board with 4:19 remaining in the second frame as Draisaitl sent a bad-angle backhand on net that somehow found its way past Jones and into the net for the German forward’s 21st goal of the season.
Edmonton tied the game 2:27 into the third as Ryan took a feed from behind the net by McLeod and blasted a one-timer for his fourth goal of the season and 200th career point.
The Oilers then jumped ahead with 3:05 left to play in the third as McLeod circled out from behind the net and was able to deposit his eighth of the season past Jones. Connor McDavid picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 11 games.
Bouchard put the game away with a long empty-netter that barely inched its way over the line, giving him his 11th.
Matthews’ early goal was his fifth career goal in the game’s opening minute, tied for the third most in Maple Leafs history. “¦ Marner was elevated to Matthews’ right wing, with Nylander moving down to the second line. “¦ The Leafs inserted a pair of players for the game as Bobby McMann returned after missing one game with an undisclosed injury and Mark Giordano came back after being a healthy scratch in Toronto’s previous game. “¦ Returning from illness for Edmonton was forward Ryan McLeod, although he dropped down from the second to the third line, with Evander Kane moving up to take his place. Sam Gagner was still nursing an injury. “¦ Toronto came into the game having allowed four or more goals 19 times this season. “¦ Oiler Mattias Ekholm recorded his 300th career assist.
Maple Leafs: Play the Flames in Calgary on Thursday.
Oilers: Host the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2024.