The Oilers hit the road for five games, beginning in Washington D.C. on Monday night at 5 p.m. MT. The game can be viewed on Sportsnet West or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
EDMONTON, AB – Leon Draisaitl and Taylor Hall continue to be an offensive force for the Oilers, combining for six points in the team’s 5-1 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils.
“It was a really good night for us,” said Hall. “It wasn’t the most entertaining game. It was kind of a cat-and-mouse game. It’s a game that we have to get used to winning. In years past, we’d try to open it up and force our hand. We just kept play and doing the things we thought were going to help us win. We didn’t try and recreate the wheel or make plays out of nothing. We just stuck with it.”
The Oilers dynamic duo of Hall and Draisaitl came into the game on a hot streak and kept things rolling by hooking up for the game’s first goal at 6:59 of the first.
“They were a big part of being the catalyst for the team tonight,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.
Hall’s perfect sauce pass landed right on the tape of Draisaitl’s stick and he buried the puck past Keith Kinkaid for his seventh goal of the season in just his 10th game.
“That was an unbelievable pass,” said Draisaitl. “There’s only a few players in this league who can make a pass like that and it’s right on my tape. I have to give a little ‘thank you’ to him.”
Brandon Davidson recorded a second assist on the goal.
Draisaitl, 20, was taken third overall in the 2014 NHL Draft and has been a boost of energy for the Oilers since being recalled from the American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors on October 29. The centre has points in five straight games, goals in three straight and four of his last five. Following his three-point night against the Devils, he now has 16 points (7-10-17) in 10 games.
Draisaitl and Hall have combined for seven goals and 11 assists in the past five games.
“Those guys are as hot as maybe the hottest players in the NHL,” said Oilers winger Jordan Eberle. “Every time they touch the puck something happens. It’s great. That’s a tough line to defend.”
The Devils tied the game up at 6:04 of the second period when Kyle Palmieri picked the corner above Anders Nilsson’s left shoulder on the power play. David Schlemko and Travis Zajac recorded the assists.
Edmonton took back the lead at 7:12 of the second. Draisaitl passed the puck out to Teddy Purcell in the slot and he got it over to Oscar Klefbom, giving him an open look at the net. The Oilers defenceman buried his fourth goal of the season for the 2-1 lead.
The Oilers killed off a shortened New Jersey 5-on-3 power play later in the second to keep their lead.
Eberle increased the Oilers lead to 3-1 at 3:23 of the third period. On the power play, Eberle hacked at the puck until it went in. Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recorded the assists.
“I saw it loose,” said Eberle. “Glad the ref, obviously, didn’t blow the whistle. Just going to the net and Hallsy kind of threw it out front and Teddy got a piece of it or somehow it ended up over to me. Just kind of stuck with it and it was good to get that.”
Mark Letestu gave the Oilers some insurance, capitalizing on a turnover in the Devils defensive zone to make it 4-1 at 13:18 of the third.
“The ironic thing about tonight’s game, at least from my perspective, is I didn’t think we were as sharp or polished as we were in a number of the games we lost,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We weren’t quite at the level we had played at and yet we won the game. When that happens with as few wins as we’ve accomplished over the last little bit, we can’t over critique it but I think there’s areas we can sharpen up in. You’ve got to look at it fairly every night.”
Hall potted an empty-net goal to make it a 5-1 final. Draisaitl, of course, recorded the assist.
Like Draisaitl, Hall has been on fire for Edmonton. Hall is the team’s leading scorer with 24 points in 20 games. His assist on Draisaitl’s goal in the first extended his point streak to five games. With a goal and two assists against the Devils, Hall has three goals and five assists in this five-game streak.
With the win, the Oilers move to 7-12-1 on the season and now head on the road for five games in eight days.