For the second time this season, the Leafs will be without Auston Matthews against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers as both teams square off in this three game series. The first time this happened, the Leafs found themselves on the winning side with a 4-2 win, but will they be able to repeat that success again?
It isn’t all bad news on the injury front for the Leafs, as they will see Joe Thornton and Jake Muzzin return after missing the last two games, and Jack Campbell will make his first start in over a month after dealing with a Tkachuk-related injury. Having the NHL leading goal scorer out and not being able to match up against the NHL leading point scorer will hurt, but the roster is a bit more well rounded in other areas at the very least.
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The Leafs come into tonight’s game after splitting a two game series with the Calgary Flames. They struggled to beat David Rittich in a 3-0 loss in the first game, and those struggles continued until the dying minutes of the second game, as William Nylander got the game tying goal with just minutes to spare, and then won it in overtime as well.
The Oilers come into tonight’s game riding a 5 game win streak, with a win over the Jets and two against the Flames and the Canucks, helping their way to their current second place spot in the North division. They have a lot of the media hype now as people continue to be too afraid to admit the Leafs are good, and instead opt to go for the team that just beat up on the Vancouver Canucks.
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Lineups

Toronto Maple Leafs
LWCRWForwards
Joe Thornton
JOE THORNTON
Rating: 72.3#74 LW
John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES
Rating: 77.6#15 C
Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER
Rating: 76.6#18 RW
FL1 Rating
Rating: 75.48#12 FL1
Alexander Kerfoot
ALEXANDER KERFOOT
Rating: 70.8#113 C
William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER
Rating: 76.1#23 RW
FL2 Rating
Rating: 73.46#15 FL2
Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN
Rating: 74.6#33 LW
Pierre Engvall
PIERRE ENGVALL
Rating: 71.0#98 C
Ilya Mikheyev
ILYA MIKHEYEV
Rating: 74.0#42 RW
FL3 Rating
Rating: 73.20#7 FL3
Travis Boyd
TRAVIS BOYD
Rating: 70.4#124 C
Jason Spezza
JASON SPEZZA
Rating: 69.4#126 RW
FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.03#23 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGSDefense
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY
Rating: 75.3#14 LD
T.J. Brodie
T.J. BRODIE
Rating: 74.2#27 RD
DL1 Rating
Rating: 74.76#17 DL1
Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN
Rating: 75.1#17 LD
Justin Holl
JUSTIN HOLL
Rating: 72.0#61 RD
DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.56#12 DL2
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT
Rating: 71.7#83 LD
Zach Bogosian
ZACH BOGOSIAN
Rating: 71.4#76 RD
DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.56#22 DL3
John Tavares finds himself on the top line with Mitch Marner and Thornton out of the lineup, while we see a repeat of the Barabonov-Kerfoot-Nylander that had some success against the Flames on Monday. Mikko Lehtonen finds himself out of the lineup again as Muzzin returns to the lineup.
Edmonton Oilers
LWCRWForwards
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS
Rating: 77.4#11 LW
Connor McDavid
CONNOR MCDAVID
Rating: 82.7#5 C
FL1 Rating
Rating: 76.37#7 FL1
Dominik Kahun
DOMINIK KAHUN
Rating: 72.5#69 LW
Leon Draisaitl
LEON DRAISAITL
Rating: 86.1#1 C
Kailer Yamamoto
KAILER YAMAMOTO
Rating: 73.5#47 RW
FL2 Rating
Rating: 77.36#1 FL2
Tyler Ennis
TYLER ENNIS
Rating: 71.4#90 LW
Jujhar Khaira
JUJHAR KHAIRA
Rating: 69.1#152 C
Josh Archibald
JOSH ARCHIBALD
Rating: 71.2#95 RW
FL3 Rating
Rating: 70.59#24 FL3
Ethan Bear
ETHAN BEAR
Rating: 71.8#66 LW
Gaetan Haas
GAETAN HAAS
Rating: 69.6#139 C
Alex Chiasson
ALEX CHIASSON
Rating: 72.2#76 RW
FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.23#12 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGSDefense
Darnell Nurse
DARNELL NURSE
Rating: 74.1#30 LD
Tyson Barrie
TYSON BARRIE
Rating: 75.3#21 RD
DL1 Rating
Rating: 74.69#18 DL1
Kris Russell
KRIS RUSSELL
Rating: 70.1#115 LD
Adam Larsson
ADAM LARSSON
Rating: 71.1#88 RD
DL2 Rating
Rating: 70.61#30 DL2
Caleb Jones
CALEB JONES
Rating: 71.0#14 LD
DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.77#15 DL3

Leafs Player to Watch: John Tavares

It was William Nylander’s turn to break out of him slump on Wednesday, now it’s John Tavares turn tonight. He’ll be expected to step up tonight with Matthews out of the lineup, especially against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, so hopefully we can see a big performance from him.
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Oilers Player to Watch: Connor McDavid

It feels like cheating to put McDavid here, but he torched the Leafs last time with two goals and an assist, one of them being a gorgeous end-to-end rush that saw him juke out the whole team. With Matthews out, it’ll make his job slightly easier, so let’s see what magic he can pull off tonight.

Leafs Starting Goalie: Jack Campbell

After missing the last month, Campbell will finally return to the crease to provide some much needed relief to Leafs fans’ anxiety, as Michael Hutchinson started three of the last four games (although he played quite well). It will be Campbell’s third start of the season, and first against the Oilers, as he currently has a 2-0 record with a .923 save percentage.

Oilers Starting Goalie: Mike Smith

Smith has surprised many with his strong start to the season, so he’ll get the start for the Oilers tonight. He’s 6-0 to start the season with a .944 save percentage and two shutouts. Like Campbell, Smith will also be facing his opponent tonight for the first time this season.
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Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm EST, and you can catch the game on Sportsnet and CBC.