McDavid back from suspension as Oilers visit Leafs
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Connor McDavid is scheduled to return to the Edmonton Oilers' lineup Wednesday night when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Oilers' captain has missed the past two games due to a suspension for a check to the head in a game against the New York Islanders.
Edmonton (26-29-7, 59 points) is 2-0-2 over the past four games after a 3-2 shootout loss Monday night at the Nashville Predators, its longest point streak since early December.
"We're competing like hell, we've done it for almost a dozen games now," Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock. "We're competing as hard as we can. We're not giving up ground to anybody.
"I don't know where the playoffs are going to go, but I know if we compete at this level, we can really be proud of what we're doing."
The Maple Leafs (38-20-4, 80 points) defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 Monday for their second win in a row after losing their previous three games.
The Leafs' fourth line came through, with Frederik Gauthier leading the way with a goal and an assist. Tyler Ennis added a goal, and Trevor Moore had an assist.
"I think (Moore) provided a lot of energy," said Ennis, who has scored in each of the past two games. "He was fun to play with, and (Gauthier) played great in both ends, and that's what we're going to have to do moving forward."
A spot opened for Moore when Par Lindholm was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for Nic Petan, who likely will spend some time with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.
"I thought Moore really brought energy, that group played with a lot of pace here (Monday) and helped us a lot," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.
"They were huge for us tonight, probably our best line," said center Auston Matthews, who scored his 30th goal of the season on Monday. "A couple of big goals by (Gauthier) and (Ennis) and, I mean, it all started there in the D-zone, especially on (Ennis's) goal. They were huge for us tonight, and (Moore) is a nice addition for us with that speed. He just makes stuff happen every time he's out there."
Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri missed his third consecutive game with a concussion Monday, and it is not certain when he will return.
The trade for Petan was Toronto's only deadline deal. The Maple Leafs had traded with the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Jake Muzzin on Jan. 28.
"We like our team, we still think there's a ton of growth from within, we think we can play a lot better and we look forward to that," Babcock said.
The Oilers did not make a deadline deal on Monday.
"Connor is not here, and we're playing one of the best teams in the West, who've been contenders for the last couple of years, and we did pretty good tonight," Oilers right winger Alex Chiasson said after the game in Nashville. "Guys are buying in and playing the right way. It came down to the wire."
Leon Draisaitl has four goals and four assists over the past five games for the Oilers. He has 14 goals in his past 14 games, and 38 for the season.
The game Wednesday will be the first this season between Toronto and Edmonton. They'll cap their season series in Edmonton on March 9.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 26, 2019