Three Key Things: Leon Draisaitl from his office, Connor Hellebuyck, and Ryan McLeod finally gets one

6 months ago
The last meeting between the Oilers and Jets resulted in an OTL at Rogers Place after a late gaff by Stuart Skinner gave the Jets a lane to send the game to overtime. The Oilers were looking to repay the favour with a road win last night at the Canada Life Centre, and while it didn’t look good for the first 40 minutes, the boys found a way to pump home three consecutive third period goals to wrestle the lead away and secure a 3-1 win.


Make it two goals in the last three games for Leon Draisaitl from his office in the right circle. Earlier in the year, Leon was misfiring on passes/chances that would have been a sure goal last season, and to see him find his mojo over the last few games has been fantastic. The Oilers are going to need Leon Draisaitl to feel good about his game if they’re going to keep this run going, and seeing him score goals like the one he got last night has to be a step in the right direction. One thing I know for sure is that having. Leon back up and running at fulloffice can only mean bad news for anyone who takes a penalty against the Edmonton Oilers.


For a guy that hadn’t scored a goal in 38 games, it has to feel pretty damned good to finally get one into the back of the net. Sure, you could nitpick and say that it took an empty netter for Ryan McLeod to get off the schneid, but I’m looking at it as the Hockey Gords rewarded him for strong underlying numbers. And besides, sometimes it takes a lucky break to get a little bit of a streak going, and I’ll be hoping and praying that is the case for McLeod. Either way, I fist pumped so hard you’d think it was a Tiger Uppercut because you could almost see the relief on the guy’s face as the puck slid inside the post.


Even though the Oilers outshot the Jets by a nearly 2:1 margin in the first period, the boys headed into the intermission down by a goal because Connor Hellebuyck has the ability to erase mistakes en masse. In a period where the Oilers could have easily scored two or three goals against a lesser foe, Hellebuyck shut the door and gave his teammates the lane they needed to grab the first goal and the lead. And when the guy is dialled in the way he was last night, cashing in the tying goal basically took the Hockey Gords stepping in with some luck to make it happen. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous that he was in line to pick up his fourth career shutout against the Oilers until his controller disconnected on the Darnell Nurse wrister from distance. You knew the guy would be rattled once that goal went in, and I feel like he was still thinking about it when Draisaitl picked up the game winner only a few minutes later.


  • I know the popular thing to do for some people is blame Darnell Nurse for everything, but I’m going to spend a minute giving some love to the guy who does so much for this team on a nightly basis. Whether it’s playing big minutes against the other team’s best or coming up with a clutch goal as he did with the tying marker late in the third period, Darnell Nurse is playing some excellent hockey right now, and I was happy to see him get rewarded.
  • How can you not love how Stuart Skinner squared off against Connor Hellebuyck and won? Though not quite as busy as his counterpart, Stu was able to go save for save with the Vezina winner until, eventually, the Oilers were able to wrestle the lead away. From start to finish, Skinner was rock solid between the pipes and looked very much like the guy who was nominated for the Calder Trophy a year ago. Skinner finished the night with 25 saves and a .962 save%.
  • The Connor McDavid point streak continues.
  • Kris Knoblauch really leaned on his top-four defencemen last night, as all four guys played more than 22 minutes. However, the third pairing of Kulak and Desharnais played only 11:10 and 12:15, respectively.
  • The special teams have been rock solid for the Oilers over the last handful of games, and I was very intrigued to see if the trend would continue against the Jets. On the power play, the boys finished at 1-for-2 with the man advantage while the PK wrapped up by killing off 2-of-3 shorthanded situations. Do we call that a special teams win? I’m gonna claim it.
  • The Oilers were fired 39 pucks on net compared to 26 by the Jets, and had it not been for Hellebuyck’s brilliance, this game would have been over long before that third period comeback.
  • I’m basically bricked up for being able to tell you that the Oilers won 71% of the faceoffs. Incredibly arousing.
  • Can I mention how much I loved the Sam Gagner feature Sportsnet played during the second intermission? I love Sam so much.


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