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Leon Draisaitl has memorable night for Oilers

Scores goal, three assists in Game 1 win against Ducks

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl is thriving against the Anaheim Ducks this season.

Draisaitl had four points (one goal, three assists) to help the Oilers to a 5-3 win against the Ducks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round at Honda Center on Wednesday.

 

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During the regular season, Draisaitl, 21, had eight points (six goals, two assists) in five games against the Ducks.

"I think people make too big a deal of it," Draisaitl said. "Like I said, every player has a team that they like to play. The first two periods, I didn't do much at all. Obviously, you need the bounces here and there too."

Draisaitl had an assist on Mark Letestu's power-play goal in the second period, then had two assists and an empty-net goal in the third.

It was the continuation of Draisaitl's improving play in his first taste of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was held without a point in the first four games of the first-round series against the San Jose Sharks, but he had three points in the final two games of that best-of-7 series. The Oilers won Games 5 and 6 to eliminate the Sharks.

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm1: Larsson snaps home quick wrister

"Everyone needs to step up in the room, and I thought we've had that so far in the playoffs. Big goals from defensemen, role players, whatever," Draisaitl said. "So far, that's been good."

Draisaitl finished eighth in the League scoring during the regular season with 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) in 82 games. He played most of the time on a line with Connor McDavid, who won the NHL scoring title with 100 points (30 goals, 70 assists) and Patrick Maroon.

On Wednesday, McDavid saw plenty of time against Ducks center Ryan Kesler, a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the League's top defensive forward.

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm1: Draisaitl seals win with empty-net goal

"Connor is so good that he has that every game, guys skate with him and they just don't want him to touch the puck," Draisaitl said. "I wouldn't either if I was playing against him."

McDavid and Draisaitl have been Edmonton's 1-2 scoring punch this season.

"They, being Connor and Leon, push and pull each other," coach Todd McLellan said. "And they're happy for each other. They care about each other a lot. There's so much attention put on 97 (McDavid) right now. There's such a focus that others have to pick up the slack, and sometimes there's ice there available.

"In my opinion, Leon took advantage of it tonight. It worked for us tonight."

Draisaitl played 20:05 and won six of seven faceoffs in a game where the Ducks won 57 percent of the draws. He became the first Oilers player to have four points in a playoff game before his 22nd birthday since Wayne Gretzky against the Los Angeles Kings on Apr 10, 1982.

"This doesn't win us the series," Draisaitl said. "We can celebrate tonight; it's a good win, but we'll be back at it Friday."

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