Leafs, Oilers meet in battle of teams in opposite directions
The Oilers (23-15-1) are riding a franchise record 10-game winning streak. Edmonton eclipsed their previous franchise mark of nine, set in 2000-01, with an overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
The Leafs (21-12-8) come into Tuesday’s matchup, the first of a four-game road trip, on a three-game losing streak after dropping both games of their weekend back-to-back against the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings.
Samsonov is battling through a difficult season, having been waived by the club on Dec. 31 and sent to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies before being recalled last Wednesday.
"He battled his (butt) off," head coach Sheldon Keefe said of Samsonov following Sunday’s loss to Detroit. "It's the best I thought he's looked all season just in terms of tracking the puck and some of the saves looked like the Sammy that we came to know last season, so I think this is a positive step for him."
After a relatively slow start to the season, Connor McDavid looked like himself since the firing of former head coach Jay Woodcroft on Nov. 12. The three-time Hart Trophy winner has scored 47 points in 26 games after registering just two goals and 10 points over his first 11 games. The 27-year-old centre has 16 points across the Oilers’ winning streak.
Edmonton has needed overtime to win each of the past two games and head coach Kris Knoblauch praised his club for finding different ways to win throughout the streak.
“We just found ways to win games. You don’t put a streak together by just relying on one line,” said Knoblauch following their win on Saturday. “When you’re winning games, you have confidence, and you don’t have to doubt yourself or feel that you have to change your game. We just have to stick with it, and we’ll win hockey games.”
The Oilers’ goaltending has been a strong suit over the past 10 games after struggling early in the season. Stuart Skinner has started seven games during the streak, recording a .951 save percentage and allowing just 10 goals.
This is the first matchup between the two clubs this season.