Edmonton Oilers cap season series against Toronto Maple Leafs with 3-2 OT victory


TORONTO — Darnell Nurse scored 17 seconds into overtime as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Monday in the ninth and final regular-season meeting between the teams.

After Oilers goalie Mike Smith stopped Auston Matthews on a 2-on-1 break right off the faceoff of the extra period, the Oilers broke the other way, with Connor McDavid feeding Nurse to bury his 12th goal of the season, and second in as many games.

Josh Archibald and Kyle Turris scored in regulation for Edmonton (22-13-1), while Smith stopped 29 shots.

Matthews, with his NHL-leading 23rd goal, and Mitch Marner, with a goal and an assist, replied for Toronto (22-10-3), which got 20 saves from Michael Hutchinson. Justin Holl chipped in with two assists as the North Division leaders fell to 6-1-2 against the Oilers in 2020-21.

McDavid, who tops the league with 63 points, extended his point streak to 11 games.

Hutchinson got the start with Jack Campbell (leg) not at 100 per cent and Frederik Andersen out with a lower-body injury. Campbell, who moved to 6-0-0 this season with Toronto’s 4-3 overtime victory against Edmonton on Saturday, got the night off with No. 4 option Veini Vehvilainen serving as the backup.

Hutchinson made 31 saves in a 3-0 shutout of the Oilers on March 1 in Edmonton as part of the Leafs’ emphatic three-game sweep in the Alberta capital, but was pulled after he allowed two goals on three shots against the Ottawa Senators in his last start just over two weeks ago.

The Oilers will now head back to Montreal for a Tuesday contest at the Bell Centre to make up one of the three games postponed last week when two Canadiens were placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. The Leafs, meanwhile, open a four-game road trip through Winnipeg and Calgary on Wednesday.

Down 2-1 through 40 minutes, the Oilers evened things up 1:20 into the third period when Adam Larsson’s point shot went in off Turris, who was on the COVID-19 protocol list from March 9 to 15 and returned to the lineup after sitting out the last eight games, for his second goal of the season.

William Nylander and Alex Galchenyuk came close to putting Toronto back in front midway through the period, but were denied before John Tavares rang a shot off the crossbar.

Edmonton opened the scoring at 6:15 of the first when Josh Archibald blew past Toronto’s defence following a faceoff in the Oilers’ end and beat Hutchinson on a breakaway move to the backhand for his sixth goal of the season.

But Marner replied for the Leafs just 1:44 later when he took a pass from Zach Hyman down low, stepped around Edmonton blueliner Tyson Barrie and outwaited Smith before burying his 13th.

Matthews then gave Toronto its first lead at 11:08 when he collected a loose puck at the side of the net, wheeled out to get a better angle and roofed his 23rd upstairs on Smith’s short side.

Ilya Mikheyev had a chance to put the Leafs up by two five minutes into the second, but Smith was at full stretch to stop the speedy winger off a pass from Alexander Kerfoot.

Toronto’s power play, which entered Monday fourth in the NHL despite riding a 1-for-22 stretch, got the game’s first man advantage with 7:30 left in the period, but the Leafs’ best look was on a Matthews one-timer that whistled wide.

Notes: McDavid’s 11-game point streak includes seven goals and 16 assists. … Vehvilainen, who has 10 minutes 40 seconds of NHL game experience, was acquired March 12 from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenceman Mikko Lehtonen.

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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press


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