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NHL Heritage Classic

Heritage Classic diary: Leon Draisaitl

Oilers forward discusses win in outdoor game, importance of fast start to season

by Leon Draisaitl / Special to

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl is keeping a diary of his experiences at the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg. The Oilers defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 on Sunday in the first of four NHL outdoor games this season.

In this installment, Draisaitl talks about the game, which was delayed almost two hours because of direct sunlight on the playing surface, and what the win means to the Oilers.

WINNIPEG -- First of all, today was a lot of fun and I think everyone really enjoyed it. We have to give a huge thanks to the people who got all of this together and the people who set everything up for us to be able to play today.

It was a huge two points for us as well.

I think Winnipeg took it to us a little bit in the first period, and we talked about it a little in the first intermission and we changed a few things. After that, I think that shorthanded goal from Mark Letestu was huge for us. I think that got us started, and from there on I think we played a really solid game.

With a game like this, there is always so much going on around us that it is a little different than a regular game; a little bit more special. But for us, at the end of the day, we wanted to come here and get the two points. We did that and we are extremely happy about it.

Everything with the game was great. The ice was fine. It could have been a lot worse. It was definitely good ice and, all in all, a good night.

The delay because of the sunlight made it a little different, but we all knew what we came here for and that was to get two points and that made it pretty easy for us to refocus and stay focused. It was a little bit of an adjustment, but a lot of fun. It was a pretty long deal, so the guys talked a lot and there was some joking. But once game time came around, we were pretty dialed in.

At this point, I'm not sure one thing stands out as my favorite memory from the weekend. The whole thing is just amazing. It was great to be part of it and even better to top it off with two points.

To have a start to the season like this is great. It gives us a lot of confidence in the team to have a good start and be able to get some points together and play with a little bit of confidence. That is really nice.

I thought our third period after taking the lead was important. We played well and we are starting to learn to play in those situations and handle situations like that when we have a lead, and this is huge for our team to be able to play with a lead and protect a lead. Tonight was a good example of that.

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