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FEATURE: The Tenacious Two

Having deployed their hardworking game together this season, the pair of Josh Archibald and Riley Sheahan combined offensively for the game-winner against Montreal

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Move over, Dynamic Duo.

There was Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, each posting a goal and assist in a critical 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday that further established their commanding presence in the NHL scoring race as the only 60-point scorers in the League ahead of the Christmas break.

But they weren't the only twosome operating at full capacity at Rogers Place on Saturday.

Josh Archibald found himself on the doorstep to deflect home his second goal of the season in the opening period before the winger fed his regular centre Riley Sheahan on a 2-on-1 in the final frame for the eventual game-winning tally, securing their club a big two points and a share of the lead in the Pacific Divison.

Video: MTL@EDM: Sheahan, Archibald net SHG on give-and-go

"He competes so hard, finishes his checks, and wins his battles," Sheahan said of his counterpart post-game on Saturday. "So I think he does that really well, but at the same time he has some skill and can get in on the forecheck and make some plays."

"Like you saw, it was a sweet pass right onto my stick and I didn't really have to do much. He creates a lot of energy for us."

Sheahan's third goal of the season made it consecutive games with a goal after finding the back of the net shorthanded on Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, while a goal and assist from Archibald against Montreal was the 27-year-old's first multi-point game as an Oiler.

"Sheahan and I have been clicking as a line," Archibald said post-game on Saturday. "Just to be able to put one on the board and put a couple in the net, it felt really good for us."

The Dynamic Duo, reunited on a line on Saturday with Zack Kassian, carries the threat of goalscoring into each contest. But the successful teams always have plenty of weapons in its arsenal.

"The teams that do well are the teams that have depth," Sheahan said. "You see that in playoffs and down the line - a lot of guys stepping up. Obviously we rely so much on our big guys, they do a great job and lead our team, but some nights they need some help. It's good when we can chip in." 

Archibald and Sheahan draw from the same well of hard work and tenacity that shows on the ice in a knack for playing off one another and providing plenty of energy to the group in the form of a big penalty kill, a big hit, or an aggressive forecheck in the opponent's end.

"I think that's a big thing for us. You get a lot of momentum when you get the big hits," Archibald said. "It gets guys excited."

 "We both work hard. We both play similarly," Sheahan shared with similar sentiments. "We can read off each other and we play simple games. So it's been good so far this year."

Video: POST-GAME RAW | Sheahan 12.21.19

The persistent pair has proven, time and time again this season, to be a useful commodity for Head Coach Dave Tippett as a hardworking, defensively-sound, checking-focused tandem that's played more than any other Oilers forward for the club's seventh-ranked penalty kill in the NHL. 

"The importance they have, not just on the penalty kill but in a checking role (on Saturday) where you're coming off a tough turnaround to five o'clock the next day, you need every body throughout your lineup to chip in," Tippett said. "Not just chip in with points, but the work they put in.

"We needed that right through our lineup and those guys epitomize that."

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