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Draisaitl, Hall lead Oilers past Devils

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl is making a solid case to stay in the NHL for good after starting the season in the minors.

Draisaitl had a goal and two assists to lead the Oilers to a 5-1 win against the New Jersey Devils at Rexall Place on Friday, extending his point streak to five games. Draisaitl, the third player taken in the 2014 NHL Draft, has seven goals and 10 assists in 10 games since being recalled from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Oct. 29. He was moved to the Oilers' top line between left wing Taylor Hall and right wing Teddy Purcell after rookie center Connor McDavid sustained a fractured clavicle on Nov. 3.

"The last couple of games we've been playing really well, good hockey, and to finally get two points is huge for the confidence," Draisaitl said. "We haven't been getting the results we wanted, but at one point you know it has to come and this was a step in the right direction. It's nice, it's a lot of fun [for me], it's the best league in the world. I play with some great players, and they make it easier for you."

Draisaitl scored at 6:59 of the first period to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead, tipping a centering pass from Hall over Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid. He also helped set up defenseman Oscar Klefbom's go-ahead goal at 7:12 of the second period that put Edmonton up 2-1 and picked up an assist on Hall's empty-net goal at 17:29 of the third period.

"I wouldn't call it smoke and mirrors," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "Smoke and mirrors is when you do it once every four or five games. He's consistently doing it. He's getting good help from his linemates, it's been a real good line. Teddy has gone up there and complimented it well."

The win ended Edmonton's three-game losing streak. New Jersey has lost back-to-back games to start a Western Canada road trip that concludes against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Jordan Eberle and Mark Letestu also scored for Edmonton (7-12-1). Hall had a goal and two assists to extend his point streak to five games. Oilers goaltender Anders Nilsson made 19 saves to earn his fourth win of the season.

But Draisaitl's hot streak was the talk of the dressing room.

"It's just a lot of confidence, every time he has the puck, he's poised, he's patient and he's making plays, it's good to see," Eberle said. "He had kind of a tough time last year and to come back and to rebound and to play as well as he is right now, it's awesome. Especially with McDavid being out, he's filled in really well."

Kyle Palmieri scored for New Jersey (10-8-1). Kinkaid, starting in place of Cory Schneider for the fourth time this season, made 22 saves.

"We didn't play to our capabilities, and the result was what it was," Devils coach John Hynes said. "We didn't really play well enough in any facet of the game to find a way to win. You have to give credit to Edmonton; they got off to a good start and played solid when they had the lead. On the flip side, we didn't have one of our better efforts. A lot of that can be attributed to Edmonton also."

Palmieri tied the game 1-1 with a power-play goal at 6:04 of the second period. He controlled the puck inside the Oilers' blue line, took it up the boards, then cut to the net and snapped a shot over Nilsson's shoulder for his seventh goal of the season.

Klefbom put the Oilers ahead to stay, taking a pass from Purcell and firing a shot into an open net past Kinkaid. Kinkaid had gone down anticipating a shot from Purcell and was unable to get up and across his net in time to stop Klefbom.

Eberle extended the lead to 3-1 at 3:23 of the third period on the power play. Eberle was stopped by Kinkaid on his initial attempt at the side of the net but was able to jam away at the puck and eventually knock it in.

Letestu made it 4-1 at 13:18, capitalizing on a turnover. He had not scored in 12 games.

Hall scored into an empty net with 2:31 remaining after Kinkaid was pulled for an extra attacker with more than three minutes left.

"They did exactly what we thought they were going to do and we were on our heels," Devils captain Andy Greene said. "We didn't play our game. We weren't getting out of our own end clean or getting the pucks to the right places. We took too many penalties. We know the type of team that we are. We need to play hard for 60 minutes, tonight we didn't quite do that."

Edmonton begins a season-long, five-game road trip Monday at the Washington Capitals.

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