Munich – After the Edmonton Oilers (20-16-2) around the German superstar Leon Draisaitl won 5:3 against the Calgary Flames on Saturday, many considered the first win after seven defeats in a row to be the major sporting turning point in the team this season.
The fans and the team had to experience just three days later that the Oilers will by no means go for sure in the direction of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the coming weeks and months.
Comeback against the Canucks
Against the Vancouver Canucks (18-19-5), the team initially fell 0-2 away, but then showed intact morale and a lot of fighting spirit in the Rogers Arena, finally sat down after a tough fight and was a bit happy with 3 :2 after extra time at the opponent who was level on points in the Pacific Division table before the game.
“I think we were strong the whole game. We were two goals down and I felt we played well. So we had to keep going in the third period. McLeod got us going with an important goal and our Powerplay dominated for a few minutes and scored a goal. It was exciting. We had a lot of chances to win the game and I was happy that the last goal came,” Edmonton coach Dave Tippett said afterwards.
Draisaitl was once again among his side’s goalscorers, and captain Connor McDavid also played his part in the win. The captain scored the much-acclaimed winning goal in extra time. Once again, the top stars in the squad ultimately ensured the success of the Edmonton team.
McDavid scored the all-important goal in this duel just 24 seconds before the end of overtime. It was his 20th goal of the season in 37 appearances. He used a pass from defender Darnell Nurse.
It was the happy ending to an evening that had not started in an encouraging way for the guests. The psyche of the team from Alberta, strained by the numerous defeats in the past few weeks, was once again put under great strain in Vancouver.
Double strike Vancouver
After a first third in which both teams initially neutralized each other, Elias Pettersson and Tyler Motte scored the two goals in the second third, 2:47 minutes apart, for the Canucks, who had lost their last two home games. Vancouver have recorded just two wins in their last eight games (2-4-2), after starting with an 8-0-1 winning streak under Bruce Boudreau, who replaced Travis Green as coach on December 5.
Pettersson single-handedly gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead after 14:26 of the second period when he fired a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle. Motte made it 2-0 after 17:13 minutes with a solo effort. “It’s not a recipe for success, but we just can’t find a way to score the first goal,” McDavid lamented. “So if you don’t score the first goal in a game you have to be able to come back in games. We’ve done that twice in a row now.”
Draisaitl forces overtime
That was because the Oilers showed a lot of morale against Vancouver in the third period. Goals from Ryan McLeod and Draisaitl ensured Edmonton made it into overtime and secured at least a point.
McLeod made it 2-1 with a shot from a tight angle in the 47th minute and Draisaitl equalized just ten minutes before the siren with a one-timer after a cross from Ryan Nugent Hopkins out. It was his first game for the assist provider since suffering a lower-body injury on December 1. For Draisaitl it was the 29th goal of the season. In addition, after 38 appearances, he still has 30 assists, so that he currently has 59 scorer points.
“We didn’t play our best hockey and we knew it. There’s always a lot of chance involved in this game. ‘Clouder’ (McLeod) found a way to score a goal against a player who was quite played well. That was an important goal for us and kind of put us back in the game,” said a happy McDavid after the game.
It was a will of the Oilers as Vancouver goaltender Spencer Martin, who made 47 saves that day in his second NHL appearance in five years, made it difficult for the visiting attackers to succeed. The continuation of his time in the league came as the Canucks’ top two goalies, Thatcher Demko and Jaroslav Halak, both had to be placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
Martin made his first NHL appearance of the season against the Florida Panthers on Friday, when he made 33 saves from his colors in a 2-1 loss. His second appearance was also narrowly lost after a strong performance, as McDavid was there in the overtime that was due and ensured the guests’ victory.
Next up for Draisaitl, McDavid and their teammates is a home game on Thursday when Roman Josi and his Nashville Predators will drop their cards in Edmonton.
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