Photo credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Day After 34.0: Five points from Warren Foegele has Oilers California Dreamin’
By Zach Laing2 months ago
The NHL has a problem, and it’s the Edmonton Oilers.
This season has seen its top line of Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins take the league by storm scoring at will, but a large standing issue for the Oilers — at least until recent days — has been scoring elsewhere.
But a still-fresh line of Leon Draisaitl, Ryan McLeod and Warren Foegele has suddenly provided the club with a much-needed spark, and it was on full display during their 7-2 walloping of the Anaheim Ducks on New Year’s Eve.
While Draisaitl had a goal and two assists and McLeod a goal and assist, it was Foegele who stole the show with a stunning five-point performance. He found himself in the mix early, setting up McLeod for the game-opening goal just 4:15 in.
Then, in the second, he notched a second assist on a Draisaitl goal, before finding twine twice on his own, capping the night off with another assist on a Brett Kulak goal.
“I think we’ve been communicating pretty well,” said Foegele of the newfound success he and his linemates have had. “Clouder and I have been playing together a lot, and I think playing with such a great player in Leon, who dictates the play out there, with our speed, we open up lanes, and he slows it down. He’s got such great vision, a great shot, so we’re just trying to keep it going.”
THE DAY AFTER IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
And keep it going they have.
First put together during a Dec. 21 game against the New Jersey Devils, the trio have done nothing but produce. In the five games since, Foegele has three goals and eight points, McLeod five goals and eight points, and Draisaitl four goals and six points. All the while, they’ve outscored the opposition 9-2, while controlling 59.43 percent of the expected goal share, and 61.86 percent of the shot attempt share.
Simply put: they’re dominating.
“They’re starting to get some chemistry. They’re three guys that are good hockey players,” said Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch. “I think they cycle the puck really well. I think it’s really important Foegele and McLeod, how hard they worked getting in on the forecheck, creating turnovers, and they’re not giving up the puck.
“They’re able to create the turnovers, and they are able to make plays. Leon’s starting to feel very confident, better about his game. The three of them are really building some chemistry.”
It couldn’t have come at a better time, too, as the Oilers have now enjoyed five straight wins, with a lot of it coming in thanks to these three. Most notably, the Oilers have swept the California road trip, eliminating the San Jose Sharks last Thursday, the LA Kings Saturday night, and the Ducks last night.
The Oilers will look to continue rolling back home in Edmonton this week, as the Philadelphia Flyers pay visit on Tuesday night, before the Ottawa Senators arrive for some Saturday night hockey.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent articles from Zach Laing