Leafs wary of Gagner, Oilers
Terry Koshan, QMI Agency
|Edmonton Oilers' Sam Gagner celebrates his first goal of the game against the Detroit Red Wings Saturday. Gagner has figured in 11 consecutive Oiler goals over the past two games, a team record. (REUTERS)
The suddenly hot Sam Gagner could pose a bunch of problems for the Maple Leafs on Monday night.
But as completely as Gagner has propelled the Edmonton Oilers to a pair of victories, the Leafs know the young and fast visitors will have other threats in their lone visit of 2011-12 to the Air Canada Centre.
Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and reliable veteran Ryan Smyth, to name a few.
“I think (Gagner) had an exceptional game the other night,” Leafs coach Ron Wilson said.
“It came out of nowhere and it continued the next game. It’s just not Sam Gagner. They have a really skilled group of forwards that if you give them room, they are going to make you look bad. We have to make sure our focus is on our own end like it has been for the past month or so.”
Gagner had eight points against Chicago on Thursday and added another three versus Detroit on Saturday night. With points (six goals and five assists) on 11 consecutive Oilers goals, Gagner broke the club record of 10, done twice by Wayne Gretzky.
Before he lit up the Blackhawks for four goals and four assists, the London native and son of former Leaf Dave Gagner had two points in the previous nine games.
“He’s on fire right now, and good for him,” said Leafs defenceman Cody Franson, who was a teammate of Gagner with Canada at the 2007 world junior championship. “That is quite a thing to accomplish.”