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FEATURE: European showtime

Forwards Gaëtan Haas and Joakim Nygard connected at the right time on Saturday against Los Angeles to help turn the tide and record their first NHL points in a 6-5 victory

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - It was a quintessential Edmonton Oilers moment - with an added European flair.

The overseas pair of Gaëtan Haas and Joakim Nygard took to the ice for a critical 4-on-4 faceoff in the third period against the Los Angeles Kings on Hockey Night in Canada, with their new club down 4-3 and in need of a spark.

It was European showtime.

Haas, the Swiss-born centre who plied his trade exclusively in his home country for the entirety of his career prior to making the jump overseas this summer to join the Oilers, saw a gap in the Kings defence and would play the role of orchestrator.

"We didn't talk about this play, but I did this one a couple times in Europe with (SC Bern)," Haas, drawing on his experience in the Swiss National League, said of the Saturday's play this afternoon.

"I always had this one in my head. I think that was the right moment to try it at 4-on-4. I knew we both had one less player on the ice. I just told Nygard that 'Now it's showtime for us,' so I just got to the faceoff and I saw the defence on the side. I knew if I lost, I was going to be the first on the puck and I was going to go in front (with the puck)."

Video: RAW | Gaetan Haas 10.06.19

Haas beat out Kings centre Jeff Carter and defenceman Ben Hutton to the puck in the left corner, eluding another King in front of with his centring pass that bounced kindly, with a bit of luck, off the side of the net and in front to a wide-open Nygard that was parked outside the crease.

Everything that came after, including the euphoria of recording their first NHL points during a game-changing moment in Saturday's game, is a bit blurry in the minds of the Swiss and Swedish forwards.

"That was really cool. Actually, I got the feeling that I scored too," Haas said. "I was so happy that we scored. I talked with Ny after the game and I said that after the goal, I felt like I blacked out.

"I didn't know what to do, and for me I was so happy and jumped on him. It was pretty fun."

Video: LAK@EDM: Haas sets up Nygard's first NHL goal

Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett admitted to doing no more than just putting the pair out on the ice, and that the game-tying dramatics should be attributed to their foresight and execution.

"That was all them," Tippett said. "That was 'European showtime' from what somebody told me. That one will find the video session with the group."

But the biggest takeaways for the bench boss won't come in his club's video sessions, but instead the excitement and belief the goal created for the dressing room in knowing they have the capability to receive offence at critical times from all areas of the lineup.

"We need depth in scoring, and Haas has been a guy, even though the first game I didn't play him very much, who's come on every game and got a little bit better. I thought he was really good last night.

"In the two regular-season games, (Nygard's) been a good player in both games. It's good to see them get rewarded, and it's also good to see our group feel good about somebody else scoring. Both of those guys after the game had big smiles on their face, and (Joel) Persson too. It's great for those guys to have a contribution in the win."

 Video: RAW | Dave Tippett 10.06.19

Haas playing his part in a big-time play for the Oilers had extra meaning with family and friends, who flew from Switzerland with 24 hours' notice to arrive in Edmonton two-and-a-half hours before his NHL debut on Wednesday, in the stands to witness his first-career NHL point.

The 27-year-old's mom and dad will join both he and the Oilers in New York for a chunk of their upcoming road trip in New York, with hopes of being able to avoid last-minute arrangements in the future to cater to his sister and girlfriend who remained back in Switzerland due to work commitments. 

"I had my parents, my brother, and my uncle came too with his daughter and a friend," Haas said. "He's going back today, but my parents and brother are coming to New York for one or two nights. They'll watch one game and go home, so it's cool for them. They've never really been overseas, so now they'll see Canada and the U.S."

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