Draisaitl scores two goals, reaches 100 points as Oilers down Senators 6-3
EDMONTON — Two players have hit 100 points in the NHL this season, and both are on the Edmonton Oilers.
Leon Draisaitl scored twice to hit the century mark as the Oilers moved into third place in the Pacific Division with a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. He joined teammate Connor McDavid, who hit the milestone back on Feb. 17.
"I feel very fortunate," Draisaitl said of hitting 100 points for the fourth time in his career. "I am obviously very happy about it. But this is my job, this is what I get paid to do. I couldn’t do it without any of these guys in here and I am well aware of that and very appreciative of them finding me and putting me in the right spots. I am very happy about that."
Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft is continually impressed by the German star.
"I thought the best player on the ice tonight was Leon Draisaitl by a country mile," he said. "He is hockey sense personified. The definition of what the modern day power forward looks like — or should look like. When he’s at his very best, his 200-foot game is so strong, because he’s hard to contain in all three zones."
Derek Ryan, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid and Nick Bjugstad also scored for the Oilers (37-23-8), who have won five of their last seven games.
"In the second period we were rolling,” said Oilers forward Warren Foegele. “Last game we had a couple goal lead and let it slip, but tonight we didn't. That's good sign moving forward."
Tim Stutzle scored twice and Brady Tkachuk also replied for the Senators (33-30-4), whose playoff hopes are slipping with losses in three straight and four of their last five.
“I thought we worked hard, I thought we had lots of chances,” said Senators head coach DJ Smith. “Just the mistakes we made ended up in our net.”
"For me, sometimes you lose where you think you deserved a little more and I think today is one of those days and I think their top guys went off.”
Edmonton scored on the first shot of the game 2:20 into the opening period, as Ryan ripped a shot high to the glove-side past Ottawa goalie Mads Sogaard for his 12th of the season.
The Senators responded with a power-play goal four minutes later as Tkachuk banked a shot off of the skate of defender Vincent Desharnais and past Oilers starter Stuart Skinner. It was Tkachuk’s 27th of the season and the first power play goal recorded by the Sens this month.
The Oilers moved back in front 12:34 into the first period as Nugent-Hopkins stole a puck in the Ottawa zone, leading to a Draisaitl shot which trickled past Sogaard and in for his 43rd.
Ottawa tied it up once again with just 1:07 to play in the first on a two-on-one shorthanded break which saw a perfect feed from Dylan Gambrell that allowed Stutzle to score into a wide-open net.
Edmonton made it 3-2 on the power play five minutes into the second period after the puck popped loose during a scramble in front to Nugent-Hopkins, who whacked in his career-high 31st.
With four minutes to play in the second period, McDavid found Draisaitl in the slot and he blasted in his second of the game.
The Oilers got a backbreaker with just 0.4 seconds to play in the second period, as Mattias Ekholm sifted a pass up through traffic to Bjugstad who scored his 15th of the season and first as an Oiler, lifting a backhand past Sogaard.
Ottawa cut the lead to two 5:28 into the third as Drake Batherson muscled a one-handed pass to Stutzle in front and he scored his second of the game and 34th of the season.
After a couple of strong saves in the late-running by Skinner, McDavid added an empty net for his league-leading 56th goal and 38th multi-point game.
McDavid also hit 129 points on the season, the highest total anyone has had since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96.
Both teams return to the ice on Thursday.
The Oilers will play host to the Dallas Stars, while the Senators return home to start a two-game homestand against the Colorado Avalanche.
The Oilers power play led the NHL at 31.6 per cent entering the game. Tampa Bay was second at 25.6 per cent. … Oilers forward Zach Hyman was a surprise scratch with an undisclosed injury. Ryan Murray (back) was also out for Edmonton. … Ottawa lost defender Thomas Chabot and forward Mathieu Joseph to injury in a loss Sunday at Calgary. The Senators were also missing Cam Talbot (lower body), Anton Forsberg (knee), Josh Norris (shoulder) and Parker Kelly (undisclosed) … Draisaitl recorded his 297th career goal, passing Ryan Smyth for fifth-most in franchise history… Draisaitl and McDavid are the first teammates to record 100 points in consecutive seasons since Mario Lemieux and Kevin Stevens in 1991-92 and 1992-93.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2023.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press