Draisaitl’s welcome moment to the NHL was against the Los Angeles Kings

The Oilers are coming off a 4-3 loss to Seattle – their first loss to a Pacific team this season – with Draisaitl scoring his 21st goal and barely missing a receiving shot to tie him six-to-four in the final about minute

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Tony Brar, the Edmonton Oilers journalist and digital content producer, has asked players about their “welcome to the NHL moment” lately, and he got a timely and revealing response from Leon Draisaitl on Saturday.

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“It was my third game in the NHL and I wasn’t ready to contribute yet. We were playing in LA and the Kings were just coming out of the Cup. It was a big, heavy and very good hockey team. I remember sitting on the bench and thinking, “I can’t play in this league, these guys are too good, they’re so strong, they didn’t let you hit the puck,” Draisaitl said.

Not on October 14, 2014, he couldn’t. Not in that 6-1 beating, when Draisaitl was 18, playing 2:22 and minus-3 on the night. It was also Darnell Nurse’s first NHL game. Matt Hendricks scored the Oilers’ only goal with 21 seconds left over Jonathan Quick.

But that was then. Draisaitl is now 26 and leads the NHL with 43 points in 22 games, already has a league scoring title, a 50-goal season and a Hart Trophy. So things are very different today.

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Also with the Kings here on Sunday night, with Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown and Quick the only players left from those glory days for LA, the welcome memento to the NHL was quite easily pulled from Draisaitl’s memory bank. .

The Kings are nowhere near as good as they were seven years ago, when they had 95 points, and the Oilers, with Dallas Eakins, then Craig MacTavish, and then Todd Nelson as coaches, finished with 62 points. Today it is reversed. The Oilers are 16-6, the Kings 9-9-4 in the Pacific Division, with Sunday’s next game on.

The Oilers are coming off a 4-3 loss to Seattle – their first loss to a Pacific team this season – with Draisaitl scoring his 21st goal and barely missing a receiving shot to tie him six-to-four in the final minute or so.

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The Kings just lost 3-2 at home to the Calgary Flames to 2014 Cup-winning coach Darryl Sutter on Thursday.

Intrigue ? The Oilers haven’t lost two games in a row all season. They are 9-1 at home. Only Florida, 14-1, lost just one game, with the default to the Philadelphia Flyers a 5-3 loss on Oct. 27.

The Oilers are 5-0 this season after losing to the Flyers here and Detroit, Buffalo, Winnipeg and Dallas on the road.

“The players talk about it all the time. We want to be a cohesive team and if we lose we want to bounce back right away. That’s the message they’re sending each other around the room, ”Oilers coach Dave Tippett said.

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And be almost unbeatable at home?

“You want teams to come in and look at our record at home and be like, ‘Wow, this team is playing well at home. And so far we’ve done it. We’re looking to maintain a loss, ”said Draisaitl, who looked no worse for wear after performing a healthy cross-check on the side of former teammate Adam Larsson’s facial area at the end. of Friday’s loss in Seattle, which gave the Oilers a power play.

“Larss and I are very good friends, so I know he wasn’t planning on doing that. He apologized on several occasions, ”Draisaitl said. “Really okay, an unlucky situation for him and for me. He’s not that type of player, not that kind of guy.

This ‘n’ that: Darnell Nurse took part in full training on Saturday but was on rotation with partners in the defense and is still a question mark to play after being out for two and a half weeks with a broken finger. He missed six games, with the Oilers going 4-2 in his absence… Zack Kassian, who had a rough night in Seattle, was on a line with Ryan McLeod and Tyler Benson in practice, with Colton Sceviour in the right wing with Derek Ryan and Warren Foegele. “A week or 10 days ago Kass was a factor in the games, last night not so much. When he’s engaged in the game he can be a really effective player, ”said Tippett… With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scoring his 500th point in Seattle, he joins a select club. Only 10 Oilers reached 500 or more. “He’s such an underrated player. Nice career and he is young (28). His best years are yet to come, which is a little scary, ”said Draisaitl, who is number 9 at 549. Connor McDavid is seventh at 616… Devin Shore (lower body), out since Nov. 5 against the Rangers from New York. during Kevin Lowe’s jersey withdrawal night, also skated on a fifth line on Saturday but probably needs some more training… Oilers first choice Xavier Bourgault, looking for a place for Canada junior at the Championships world, now leads the Quebec Major Junior League with 21 goals in 23 games… Mikko Koskinen (12-2) was in the Oilers net on Saturday, so he’s their guy against the Oilers. Kings… Kings defenseman Kale Clague, who grew up in Lloydminster, was called on waivers by Montreal.

Email: [email protected]

On Twitter: @jimmathesonnhl

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