The German center scored 30 goals for the fourth straight season and is well on his way to setting a personal record
Draisaitl drives to net for goal
[email protected]: Draisaitl gets good bounce on flubbed shot
Leon Draisaitl drives to the crease, misses a shot but the errant puck bounces off a Canadiens’ skate and slides through Sam Montembeault
Leon Draisaitl stayed on his record-setting pace Saturday, scoring twice to help the Edmonton Oilers to a 7-2 shutout win over the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. For the Oilers it was the fourth win in a row after their negative series of seven losses. The Cologne native totaled five goals and two assists in those four games.
"I think you could see how balanced our lines were today and that we got a contribution from all four lines.", Oilers forward Zach Hyman was convinced by the performance of his team. He himself contributed two goals and one assist. "If you can rotate four lines, it wears down the opponent and stay rested yourself. It’s no fun to play when the opponent can bring in rested players in every change to provide scoring threat."
Newcomer Evander Kane gave the Oilers the lead in the first period (12. minute of play) and Zach Hyman quickly followed suit (13.). Less than two minutes after making it 1-0, Draisaitl made it 3-0 when he moved the puck in front of the net and the disc bounced off a Canadiens defenseman’s skate and into the net. It was his 30. goals of the season.
"That was a strong game", Kane praised the team performance. "All four lines contributed. Hyman was really good today and Leon is just Leon. Then we got goals from other players. That made it easy to use all lines and keep his foot on the gas pedal."
Josh Anderson got the Canadiens on the board in the second period (24.), but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (27.) and Hyman (35.) ensured clear conditions. Tyler Toffoli took advantage of a power play to score the Canadiens’ second goal (36.), but Draisaitl restored the gap just 24 seconds later when he put home a rebound from close range. With his 31st. With his second goal of the season, he moved into a tie atop the scoring charts with Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers. 34 seconds before the final siren Derek Ryan scored the final goal.
"That’s so impressive", Coach Dave Tippett was thrilled with Draisaitl. "The consistency with which he scores is incredible. He scored twice today and probably could have scored three or four goals, he had great chances. His work ethic and dedication to our team speak for him. He’s a real leader for our team. He wants to do everything right and scoring goals is an important part of his game. Great to see him reach the 30 goal mark again."
Draisaitl already has 31 goals and 30 assists in 40 games this season. If he keeps up this pace he would end up with 125 points and 63 goals by the end of the season. His previous bests are 110 points and 50 goals.
Draisaitl reached the 30-goal mark for the fourth consecutive season, putting him in exclusive company. In Oilers franchise history, only five other players have accomplished that (Jarri Kurri, Wayne Gretzky, Glenn Anderson, Mark Messier and Connor McDavid ). Plus, in the past 20 years, only six players have needed fewer games to score 30 goals (Alex Ovechkin (34), Sidney Crosby (37), Auston Matthews (38), Steven Stamkos (38), Ilya Kovalchuk (38) and Simon Gagne (38)).
As the NHL’s second-leading scorer and top scorer, Draisaitl is once again in line for a number of awards and helped the Oilers out of the slump they had been in for a while. These are exactly the feats they will need from their elite players to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs as well. They currently sit sixth in the Pacific Division and 10th in the Western Conference with 46 points (22-16-2). However, the deficit to the Calgary Flames and the second wild card spot is only two points.