Edmonton Oilers searching for answers with Leafs up next

Edmonton Oilers practice on Friday began with a longer than usual on-ice meeting lead by head coach Dave Tippett.

“Just that we’ve done a lot of good things well,” answered goalie Mike Smith when asked about Tippett’s message. “There are parts of our game that on a consistent basis need to be better. We’re not going to sit here and be in a grump about it.”

For the first time this season, the Oilers have gone three games without a win. They’ve been outscored 15-10 over that stretch.

“We’re giving up way too many goals a game,” said forward Alex Chiasson. “We have to understand where we’re at as a team. We’re facing a little bit of adversity right now. Once we get into the groove of defending, we’ll get our opportunities and capitalize. It’s more of a mindset than about structure or playing a certain way.”

“All year long we’ve embraced the process of learning,” Tippett said. “When you lose, there’s extra emphasis put on certain things that made you lose.”

The Oilers will host the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night. The Leafs have won the last six meetings and always have a lot of crowd support at Rogers Place.

“It’s always an exciting game. The crowd is 50/50 and going back and forth,” said Sam Gagner. “It’s loud in the building.”

Mikko Koskinen is expected to start in goal. Joakim Nygard didn’t practice Friday but may be able to play. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will likely start the game on the same line.

Catch the Oilers and Leafs on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 3:30 p.m. The game starts at 5 p.m.


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