John Tavares breaks late tie, Maple Leafs beat Oilers 4-2
TORONTO (AP) John Tavares broke a tie on a power play midway through the third period to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Friday night for a series split.
Toronto played without Auston Matthews and Joe Thornton. Coach Sheldon Keefe said before the game Matthews is day-to-day with "upper-body soreness" following a 3-1 loss to the Oilers on Wednesday night, while Thornton will miss at least four weeks after fracturing a rib in that game.
"To get a good, hard-fought win like that you need the whole group," Tavares said. "We got a good bounce-back."
Adam Brooks scored his first NHL goal, Jimmy Vesey and Mitch Marner added goals and Frederik Andersen made 30 saves. Toronto improved to 4-2-0.
"A great effort by the group," Vesey said. "No Auston, no (Thornton). Guys came in and stepped up. It was a gutsy effort. We didn't like our game the other night. It was good we didn't have to wait to play those guys again."
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl scored for Edmonton, and Mikko Koskinen stopped 25 shots. The Oilers are 2-4-0.
"A good offensive team, you give them a little sniff, they're going to figure it out," McDavid said. "We made one too many mistakes."
Tavares tipped in his fourth goal of the season, and second in the two-game set with the Oilers, off Marner's shot after some sustained pressure on the man advantage.
Marner capped the scoring with an empty-net goal.
"We've got to play a little bit differently," Keefe said. "The group's really got to recognize the importance of every shift and how important it is to stay with the structure, stay with the plan. I thought we did that really well."
Updated January 22, 2021