EDMONTON, AB - With four goals in his past four games, Darnell Nurse has made his case.
The defenceman skated with the Oilers top power-play unit Friday at practice and commented on the opportunity.
"Obviously we have a lot of guys that can make plays, so I'll just try to get the puck in their hands and get some shots through when I get an opportunity," said Nurse of the chance to see man-advantage minutes.
The top unit featured Nurse, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Strome and Milan Lucic. The second group had Oscar Klefbom, Jesse Puljujarvi, Drake Caggiula, Michael Cammalleri and Patrick Maroon.
"It took a lot of time for me to have that belief that not only can I contribute defensively, but to use my legs and have the ability to get up and create offence for our team too," Nurse continued.
The rearguard leads all Oilers defenders in goals and points with six and 18, respectively.
"It was a good step before the break," he said.
Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan praised the rearguard Friday.
"Just his game as a whole, right from Day 1 until now, 'inconsistent' probably describes our team as a whole but it sure doesn't describe Darnell," said McLellan. "He's been consistently showing up and moving the needle upwards. Great learning curve, taking more on, excelling in a number of different areas. His confidence level is probably as high as it's been in his National Hockey League career.
"We have to be aware as he comes in, that we want to put him in a situation that he feels good, too. We'll manage him, give him a little bit more and hopefully, he can make a difference on it."