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NHL playoffs: Leon Draisaitl pads unimaginable resume, pulls Oilers again from the brink

The Edmonton Oilers didn’t just flirt with disaster on Sunday night, they came close to tying the knot.Nearly halfway through their Game 4 battle with the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton was trailing 3-1 and staring down the barrel of a 3-1 series deficit. That wouldn’t have have been a death sentence per se, but it

NHL playoffs: Leon Draisaitl pads unimaginable resume, pulls Oilers again from the brink

Nick Ashbourne

The Edmonton Oilers did not simply flirt with catastrophe on Sunday night time, they got here near tying the knot.

Practically midway by means of their Game 4 battle with the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton was trailing 3-1 and staring down the barrel of a 3-1 collection deficit. That would not have have been a dying sentence per se, however it might be pretty described as a state of affairs they might’ve been unlikely to flee — particularly with the Kings enjoying strong hockey.

Fortunately for the Oilers, they make use of a person by the identify of Leon Draisaitl.

First, the German famous person introduced the sport inside one by discovering an open spot in entrance of the web and firing the puck dwelling.

Then, he despatched his workforce into the second intermission with the rating tied, with a power-play aim off a penalty he drew himself:

Contemplating Draisaitl is a former Hart Trophy winner who ranks 16th all-time in points per game, it might be exhausting to name him an unlikely hero, however he nonetheless will get overshadowed by Connor McDavid at instances. That is not taking place in these playoffs.

Draisaitl is delivering exactly when Edmonton wants it most on the best way to a league-leading 9 playoff factors. Even that spectacular manufacturing is perhaps underselling his affect. The 26-year-old has been on the ice for each aim the Oilers have scored in opposition to the Kings.

Put one other approach, Edmonton is outscoring Los Angeles 14-4 within the 93:42 when Draisaitl is on the market and being outscored 9-0 within the 169:40 when he is on the bench.

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Whereas Draisaitl’s power-play prowess performs a task in that, Edmonton has outshot the Kings 53-45 and outscored them 8-4 through the star’s even-strength minutes.

These numbers can be extra eye-opening if Draisaitl hadn’t already established himself as an unimaginable playoff performer. His profession common of 1.659 factors per recreation within the postseason ranks second all-time amongst gamers with no less than 50 playoffs factors, behind solely Wayne Gretzky (1.837).

Though McDavid is fifth on that record (1.488) it is clear Draisaitl has been Edmonton’s finest risk within the clutch throughout 5 playoff runs. These runs have not typically been deep, however that is hardly the three-time 50-goal man’s fault — or McDavid’s for that matter.

Oilers superstar Leon Draisaitl has been on the ice for every single Edmonton goal against the Kings. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Oilers famous person Leon Draisaitl has been on the ice for each single Edmonton aim in opposition to the Kings. (Picture by Harry How/Getty Photos)

As a result of Draisaitl is the league’s finest power-play scorer, and his two-way recreation is not as extensively lauded as another superstars, he would not seem to be an apparent candidate to boost his recreation within the playoffs. He may additionally undergo from stereotypes about European gamers’ toughness — and the best way bruisers of their 30s from rural Canada can get lionized presently of 12 months greater than gamers with superlative talent.

On the similar time, Draisaitl has picked up down-ballot Selke Trophy votes up to now. He is additionally a powerful 208-pounder who’s very tough to dislodge from the puck and has by no means supplied any purpose to doubt his toughness. What he is achieved is outstanding, however it’s not stunning.

Dialogue in regards to the Oilers’ lack of ability to realize playoff success lately tends to centre round losing McDavid’s prime, however failing to utilize Draisaitl’s mammoth playoff manufacturing is nearly as noteworthy.

On Sunday, Edmonton gave the impression to be on the precipice of one other playoff disappointment, however it received dragged again by a participant who by no means appears to disappoint when the video games matter most. If the Oilers are going to flee a surprisingly tough first-round collection, it appears like they will want extra magic from the NHL’s most constant playoff producer.

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