The Edmonton Oilers are expected to have their captain Connor McDavid back in the lineup tonight following a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head on New York Islanders defenceman Nick Leddy when they visit the Maple Leafs in Toronto.
However, the Leafs might not be ready for this. McDavid is pissed off. And head coach Ken Hitchcock hopes he will take out his frustration on the Leafs.
“I expect him to play well. He’s pissed off & hopefully he stays that way from 7 to 9:30 … he’s not a happy guy right now & that’s good for us.”
The Oilers head coach even hinted at playing his star forward for many minutes, saying he’d try to keep it under 30.
McDavid’s return will be a major boost for the Oilers, and if the captain is fired up, Edmonton could come out on top. McDavid could be angry over his suspension, especially after finding out that Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will not be suspended for his high hit on San Jose Sharks’ Evander Kane.
Not matter what makes him mad, the Oilers are glad he is fired up.
“He’s missed the last couple games. We expect him to be shot out of a cannon,” said Leafs centre John Tavares on Tuesday.
Yep, you better be ready…
The Oilers made some adjustments to their lineup ahead of the game. Sam Gagner skated on the team's top line Wednesday alongside McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Gagner was acquired earlier this month from the Vancouver Canucks and had been playing with the AHL's Toronto Marlies prior to the move. He has tallied two goals in five games since joining the Oilers.
Here is the projected lineup for tonight's contest: