Struggling Senators brace for high-scoring Oilers

·3 min read
NHL: Ottawa Senators at Edmonton Oilers

Leon Draisaitl came within a hair of matching an NHL record Sunday night.

With six assists in an 8-5 home-ice win over the Ottawa Senators, the 25-year-old from Cologne, Germany, picked apart the opposition's defense, making plays that led his team to success. Draisaitl will lead the Oilers in a rematch against the visiting Senators on Tuesday.

He fell one helper short, however, of the NHL record for most assists in a single game, set by the Detroit Red Wings' Billy Taylor in 1947 and matched three times by Wayne Gretzky as an Oiler.

"I was not aware of (the record)," Draisaitl said. "It's not something I pay too much attention to. ... Some nights it just seems to go your way, and other nights it doesn't seem to go your way. Obviously, it seemed like tonight was a night it went our way."

The center is the fourth different player in franchise history -- and the first in almost 34 years -- to record six or more assists in a regular season or playoff game. Gretzky had six assists on April 9, 1987, when the Oilers downed the Los Angeles Kings 13-3 in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.

Draisaitl wasn't alone in having a banner night. Oilers team captain Connor McDavid had a goal and four assists, becoming the first Oilers player with three or more points on consecutive days since Mark Messier did 30 years ago.

McDavid had two goals, including the winner, and an assist in the Oilers' 4-3 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday.

While pleased with the win, the Oilers are more focused on tightening up their defense.

"Giving up five, that's not going to cut it most nights," Draisaitl said. "We had a good start and we ended up scoring enough to win it, but we're looking to be a lot tighter next game."

The Senators, meanwhile, haven't won a game since their season opener on Jan. 15, a 5-3 victory over the Leafs. Center Derek Stepan said the eight-game losing skid is really starting to sting.

"It's a fragile group, there is definitely no doubt about it," Stepan said. "I've been through this before, no one is feeling bad for us. We have a lot of guys learning things. We have some veterans finding their way here in a new group too."

Head coach D.J. Smith said he had warned his team before the game to play with discipline. The players failed to heed his words, and the Oilers five power plays. Edmonton scored four times with the man advantage.

"Four power-play goals, it's pretty easy to see what happened tonight," Smith said. "You're playing catch-up all night against a team that has as much power as they do. ...Their big guys took us apart tonight."

The Senators must shake it off and refocus for the second game of the Oilers' doubleheader, the last of their six-game road trip to Western Canada.

"We have to take it one game at time," said center Colin White, who had a goal and an assist in the loss. "It's been a tough stretch but we have to find a way to get that win, take it game-by-game and crawl out of it. We play some of the best teams in the league every night."

(Field Level Media)