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FIVE THINGS: Oilers impact at Worlds

by Meg Tilley / Edmonton Oilers

There are seven Oilers players participating in the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Russia, which began Friday, May 6 and will run through Sunday May 22. We will have full coverage of the tournament, with breakdowns on how each Oilers player fared each day. This week, we continue to see how a few of our Oilers, their teams and a projected 2016 top-three NHL Draft pick have made an impact on the tournament so far.

1. HALL OF AN OFFENSIVE FORCE


There's no doubt about it, since Game 1 of the IIHF World Championship, Taylor Hall has been on a rampage. Four games into the international tournament, the 24-year-old has scored in each of Canada's contests, recording five goals and one assist for six points with a +7 rating. The only other player with five goals is Sweden's Gustav Nyquist.

 

 

Hall may not be the oldest on the team, but he's got the experience to back his on-ice performance. His first stint with international play came in 2008 when he played for Team Canada in the IIHF World U18 Championship in Russia. That year, Canada skated away with gold.
 
Now, playing in his third World Championship - his fifth international tournament - Hall is on track to outperform his 12-point (7G, 5A) stat line from last year's Worlds as Canada, coached by Oilers bench boss Todd McLellan, took the top prize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. FINNS FLYING


Although Finland didn't win their first men's IIHF World Championship medal until 1992 - granted silver in a 5-2 loss to Sweden - they've been a top contender since then. From 1992 to 2015, the Finns have won 12 medals in all (2 gold, 7 silver, 3 bronze).
 
Currently sitting in second place, just below Canada in Group B, Finland is 4-0-0-0 and has proved they are a force to be reckoned with. Finnish forward Patrik Laine, a contender for being selected first overall in June's NHL Draft, is making his World Championship debut.
 
Though Laine already has a gold medal tucked into his back pocket from Finland's 2016 World Junior Championship, he's certainly proved his capabilities playing with the men.
 
According to the IIHF, Laine has already broken Jaromir Jagr's 1990 tournament points record for a player aged 18 or under (3-2-5) by scoring two goals and an assist in each of his first two World Championship games against Belarus and Germany.
 
To date, he's now recorded four goals and three assists for seven points in four games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. USA BOUNCES BACK


It's been a bit of a roller coaster for Team USA at the World Championship thus far. Having started the tournament on a lower note than they would have liked, losing 5-1 to international rivals Canada, it's been a little bit of an up-and-down road that's followed.
 
Securing a 6-3 victory over Belarus the following day, it looked as though the Americans had shaken loose the cobwebs. But their match against Finland turned their two-game win-streak pursuit on its head, as they lost a tightly-contested match 3-2.
 
But now USA has finally found the win streak they've been searching for. After blanking France with a 4-0 win on Thursday, they followed up with a 5-1 win over Hungary today and are now sitting in third in Group B with a 3-0-0-2 record.
 
Patrick Maroon had an assist and was +2 in the game against Hungary, recording one goal and two assists for three points in five games overall. USA captain Matt Hendricks was +1 against the Hungarians and has recorded one assist thus far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. O CANADA!


One of the most impressive aspects of Canada's current four-game win streak to start this year's tournament is that it has contributed to their overall 14-game unbeaten streak in the international tournament, dating back to last year's gold-medal performance.

 

 

 

What's even more astounding is that all of their wins have come in regulation time, which according to the IIHF, sets a modern-day record for consecutive regulation wins.
 
Since the IIHF went to the three-point-game system in 2007, only Russia (2012-13) had as long a streak with 13 games.
 
Oilers forwards Taylor Hall (5G, 1A) and Connor McDavid (5A) have been dynamic pieces on the frontline while Cam Talbot (3GP, 1.00GAA, .947SV%) has been an unmoveable force between the pipes, all of which have contributed to Canada's 4-0-0-0 record and their pursuit of another gold medal for the nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. GERMANY GETS IT GOING


As the age-old saying goes, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. For Germany, that may be the best motto that reflects their tenacity and will to push forward as a team this tournament.
 
Securing a 5-2 win over Belarus today may make up for their 5-2 loss to Canada on Thursday. But don't let the final score in the Germany-Canada game fool you. The Germans' vigorous style-of-play proved challenging for the Canadians when they suddenly found themselves in a 2-2 draw at the end of the second period.
 
Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl finally broke his scoring dry spell with the second goal of the game against Belarus. After being denied a shootout opportunity in their 3-2 loss against France, Draisaitl was likely itching to make up for it. He's now recorded one goal and two assists for three points in five games.

 

 

 

Sitting in fourth place in Group B, the Germans now hold a 2-0-1-2 record.

 

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