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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Draisaitl Dominates Ducks

Leon Draisaitl scored six goals and eight points in five regular season games against the Anaheim Ducks, and he’s continued to feast on them in the playoffs.

He has 13 points in six games, including four points in game one and a five-point effort in game six last night.

His domination of the Ducks has him scoring at a pace we haven’t seen since the Oilers were winning Stanley Cups.

Jari Kurri was the last Oilers to register five points in a game. He did it in 1990 versus the Winnipeg Jets.

Mark Messier was the last player to have two, four- point games in one series. He achieved that in 1988 in the conference Finals vs. Detroit, seven years before Draisaitl was born.

Draisaitl became the second youngest Oilers to score a playoff hat-trick at 21 years young. Wayne Gretzky was 20.

The 3rd overall pick in 2014 had a breakout regular season, tallying 77 points, but he was somewhat overshadowed by Connor McDavid’s 100 points. Some people incorrectly suggested Draisaitl’s production was due to mainly playing with McDavid. No one is saying it, or even thinking it, today.

The young German was a force in game six.

He scored three goals.
He had two assists.
He had four shots on goal, and another four shot attempts.
He had four hits.
And he was 62% in the faceoff dot.

He used his size, speed and elite-level skill all over the ice, and he was the catalyst for the 7-1 victory from his first shift of the game.

“He didn’t score on his first shift, but he made two really strong plays and it really sparked us,” explained Mark Letestu.

“His focus was there from the first shift, and that’s what you need in the playoffs. I’ve played with some really great players (Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh) and Leon has elite skill that very few have. He is also very driven. He was exceptional tonight,” smiled Letestu.

Letestu had a career night as well, picking up two goals and four points. It was his first four-point game of his career, and Letestu is now second on the Oilers in playoff scoring with 11 points.

But Draisaitl was the main story. He has thirteen points in the series and there is still one game to go. He is now second in playoff scoring with 16 points, trailing only Malkin’s 17.

He is absolutely crushing a good Anaheim team. He isn’t feasting on a 30th place Colorado team, he is lighting up one of the top teams in the NHL, and he’s doing it on a nightly basis.

He had four points in game one.
None in game two.
One in game three.
Two in game four.
One in game five.
Five last night.

Eight of his 13 points have come at even strength, and as the Ducks prepare for game seven, they need to be very concerned with how they can slow down Draisaitl. He and Milan Lucic have found instant chemistry this series. Lucic was also a man on a mission last night. He made some nice passes and was both physically and emotionally involved in the game. Toss in Anton Slepyshev’s skating and size and they’ve become a formidable line.

Draisaitl is the driver and his performance in this series has shown the NHL he is much more than McDavid’s sidekick. He is a legimate threat on his own, and he and McDavid give the Oilers a dominant one-two punch down the middle, not only for game seven vs. the Ducks, but for years to come.

PARTING SHOTS

  • Odd stat of the series: McDavid scored in three straight games, three to five, but the Oilers lost all three. In their three victories, McDavid only has one assist. McDavid was good last night, and the threat of either him or Draisaitl going off in game seven has to be a major concern for the Ducks.
  • Rookie Matt Benning played a game-high 23:38. He looked very poised on the first unit PP in place of Oscar Klefbom, who will be available for game seven according to McLellan. I like Benning on the PP a lot, and with Andrej Sekera out for Friday, and likely longer, Benning will be on one of the top-two units. He gives the Oilers another much-needed right-shot option.
  • Griffin Reinhart played his first NHL game of the year last night, and in 13:23, he was solid. The most noticeable difference in his game now from last year was how assertive he was. He attacked the Ducks offensive players. He went at them rather than wait for them to attack with speed. He finished with an assist, was +1 and had five hits. A solid season debut.
  • It was 4-0 only 11:39 into the first frame last night, and a D-man had an assist on the first five goals: Larsson, Nurse, Reinhart, Russell and Benning.
  • The Oilers hadn’t scored five goals in the first period since April 9th, 1987 versus the Los Angeles Kings.
  • The last time they scored seven goals in a playoff game was May 4th, 1991 versus the Minnesota North Stars in the third round. It was the only game the Oilers won in the series.

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