Leon Draisaitl eclipsed the 100-point mark for the second-straight season with two goals and an assist and Mike Smith shut the door with 39 saves in a 3-2 win over Winnipeg
EDMONTON, AB - The Leon lied in waiting, ready to pounce with the century mark in his sights.
But Draisaitl, being calm in his approach pre-game, spared no thought for his looming individual 100-point accolade by electing to focus on contributing to the collective gain of the Oilers in the playoff race. There was a game to be won and two vital points to be collected.
"I feel like I've said that a million times," Draisaitl said post-game. "You guys probably think I'm boring."
Two goals and an assist for Draisaitl in a 3-2 victory for the Oilers over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday helped the German over the 100-point mark for the second-straight campaign, becoming the first player in the NHL this season to reach triple digits.
The Oilers begin a three-game road trip on Monday against the Nashville Predators. The game can be seen on Sportsnet and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 6:08 p.m. MT.
Draisaitl wasted no time, opening the scoring with a power-play marker 6:27 into the game off a cross-ice feed from Connor McDavid to quickly wipe away any sort of expectation that'd been placed on him in the build-up to reaching the 100-point plateau.
With his first period tally, Draisaitl became the seventh player in Oilers franchise history to post multiple 100-point campaigns and the first Oiler to reach 100 points in 65 or fewer games since Mark Messier in '89-90.
"Is that good? 100 points?" Mike Smith, the unsung hero of Saturday night with 39 saves, said post-game of certified century man Draisaitl.
After the Jets struck twice in 34 seconds during the middle frame to take the lead, Draisaitl squared the scoreline with the redirection from the slot for point #101 on another Oilers man advantage as the final seconds trickled down before the second intermission.
"The second period we just turned so many pucks over, and then made a couple of critical mistakes that ended up in the back of our net," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We got a huge power-play goal at the end of the second to give us some life going into the dressing room, and I thought in the third we were much better."
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins wristed home the game-winner with 5:16 to go before full-time, capping off a three-point night for himself off a feed from Draisaitl that made it 102 points on the year for the Deutschland Dangler.
"It's outstanding how fast he reached it this year," Nugent-Hopkins said of Draisaitl. "It's pretty crazy to think, but his offence is obvious. Defensively, I think the last stretch he's been playing so solid too that it goes hand-in-hand."
In the crease, Mike Smith was on another level as the netminder held the fort over a two-period shot-clock assault from the Jets where they outshot the Oilers 30-14 following the opening frame.
"He was outstanding from the first shift to the last shift," Nugent-Hopkins said of his netminder. "We have so much confidence in him and Mikko. Tonight showed why."
Smith improves to 10-1-3 in his last 15 starts, putting a disappointing month of December in the past to hold the second-most wins in the NHL since January 4.
"I mentioned it a little bit this morning. These are the games you want to play in," Smith said. "These are what gets the juices flowing and are why you play. I've played for a long time. I've played in a lot of meaningless games at this time of year and it's no fun at all.
"I think this is when it's fun, this when you want to play, and when you want to play your best. Our team found another way to get two points at home."
Connor McDavid had two power-play assists, making the Dynamic Duo the only two players in the NHL this season with more than 40 points on the man advantage after the NHL's top PP went a perfect 2-for-2.
On a night when the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks both lost, the Oilers pulled themselves back from a trailing position to earn two more important points to take sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division with a 34-23-8 record and 76 points.
"It was a head-to-head matchup," Smith said. "I think one or two points difference. Not much needs to be said after that, so I think just looking at the standings and knowing how important every game is, understanding how important the schedule is and the standings are, you just want to get points every night."
The Oilers begin a three-game road trip on Monday against the Nashville Predators with the first of back-to-back games.
"It was a short homestand, so we wanted to make the best of it and go back on the road and try to collect some more," Smith said.