Draisaitl & Pavelski Join Short List of 4-Plus Goal Playoff Games

In the playoffs, it’s rare for a player to score four goals. Since 1919, it’s only happened 38 times and we just witnessed it twice in 24 hours. Both Joe Pavelski of the Dallas Stars and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers scored all four of their team’s goals in the first game of the second round of the 2023 Playoffs, and both were on the losing side of the contest.

Leon Draisaitl Edmonton Oilers Chandler Stephenson Vegas Golden Knights
Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers skates with the puck ahead of Chandler Stephenson of the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The record for playoff games where one player records four or more goals is 33-3-2, so the odds that two of those losses came on back-to-back nights are incredibly low.

Player NameTeamYearGoalsFinal Score
Leon DraisaitlEdmonton Oilers202346-4 L
Joe PavelskiDallas Stars202345-4 OTL
Denis GurianovDallas Stars202047-3 W
Jake GuentzelPittsburgh Penguins201848-5 W
J-G PageauOttawa Senators201746-5 OTW
Johan FranzenDetroit Red Wings201047-1 W
Joffrey LupulAnaheim Ducks200644-3 OTW
Theo FleuryCalgary Flames199546-4 W
Tony AmonteChicago Blackhawks199445-4 W
Ray FerraroNew York Islanders199346-4 L
Kevin StevensPittsburgh Penguins199245-1 W
Dino CiccarelliWashington Capitals199247-2 W
Mario LemieuxPittsburgh Penguins1989510-7 W
Mark JohnsonNew Jersey Devils1988410-4 W
Tony HrkacSt. Louis Blues198846-5 W
John TuckerBuffalo Sabres198846-2 W
Jari KurriEdmonton Oilers1987413-3 W
Denis SavardChicago Blackhawks198646-4 L
Jari KurriEdmonton Oilers198548-2 W
Tim KerrPhiladelphia Flyers198546-5 W
Mike BossyNew York Islanders198348-4 W
Glenn AndersonEdmonton Oilers198348-2 W
Wayne GretzkyEdmonton Oilers1983410-2 W
Mark MessierEdmonton Oilers198346-3 W
Wayne GretzkyEdmonton Oilers198346-3 W
Bill Barber Philadelphia Flyers198045-3 W
Lanny MacDonaldToronto Maple Leafs197746-5 OTL
Reggie LeachPhiladelphia Flyers197656-3 W
Darryl SittlerToronto Maple Leafs197658-5 W
Phil EspositoBoston Bruins1969410-0 W
Maurice RichardMontreal Canadiens195745-1 W
Ted LindsayDetroit Red Wings195547-1 W
Ted KennedyToronto Maple Leafs194845-3 W
Billy ReayMontreal Canadiens194745-1 W
Carl LiscombeDetroit Red Wings194545-3 W
Maurice RichardMontreal Canadiens1945410-3 W
Maurice RichardMontreal Canadiens194455-1 W
Newsy LalondeMontreal Canadiens191956-3 W

A player scoring four or more goals doesn’t happen often, and only on five occasions has a four-plus goal performance been all of the team’s goals. In those games, including Draisaitl and Pavelski’s performances, the record is 2-2-1. While it is a small sample size, that is quite an underwhelming result.

NHL Playoff Losses Have Rarely Been Seen Like This

In the 104 years since the first four-plus goal playoff performance, becoming one of the 24 players to record a four-plus goal game makes it quite an impressive stat for any player to reach. To have this happen twice in 24 hours is why the NHL playoffs are so exciting. Unfortunately for Draisaitl and Pavelski, joining such a small list of players scoring all of the goals for their team and still losing the game isn’t an accomplishment they want to put on their resume.

Related: 4 Takeaways From Stars’ 5-4 Game 1 OT Loss to Kraken

After the game, Draisaitl expressed his frustration with his team and their performance, indicating that he isn’t taking any positives from his four-goal game without a victory.

Joe Pavelski Dallas Stars
Joe Pavelski, Dallas Stars (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

For just the second and third time in history, being on the losing side of this kind of individual performance will add fuel to the fire for them and their respective teams to push harder in their playoff series. On the bright side, throughout all of the series with a four-plus goal scorer, their record is 26-10, which could give Oilers and Stars fans hope.

Applauding Draisaitl and Pavelski’s Effort

While they may not see a reason to celebrate, Draisaitl and Pavelski’s performances are worth focusing on.

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Pavelski is the oldest player in NHL history to record a 4-goal game in the regular season or the playoffs. He also scored in different ways: his first goal was a wrist shot, the second was a deflection, the third was a rebound, and the final one was batted out of the air.

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Draisaitl scored on a pair of one-timers, a rebound, and a marvellous goal from two feet below the goal line. Like Pavelski, it was a great display of talent and versatility. Of course, Draisaitl is one of the best playoff performers in history, trailing only Wayne Gretzky in points-per-game average, with 29 goals and 74 points in 44 career games. It’s hard to challenge Connor McDavid for the best player in the NHL, but when only 16 teams are competing, Draisaitl’s game goes unmatched.

Can Oilers and Stars Bounce Back?

The Oilers and Stars both lost Game 1 of their second-round series, and there is lots of time to rebound. Edmonton is among the favourites to win the Stanley Cup, and the Stars have high-end talent and depth to get them back into their series.

Jake Oettinger Dallas Stars Oliver Bjorkstrand Seattle Kraken
Oliver Bjorkstrand of the Seattle Kraken scores on Jake Oettinger of the Dallas Stars (Photo by Sam Hodde/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Oilers are taking on the Vegas Golden Knights, including the long-awaited series featuring Jack Eichel and McDavid, the top two picks in the 2015 NHL Draft. Both teams are hungry for a Stanley Cup, as the Golden Knights have been competing since their inaugural season, while the Oilers have finally built a team around McDavid that is worthy of contending. After bolstering their defense with the Mattias Ekholm trade and having Stuart Skinner taking over in the crease, hopes are high in Edmonton right now.

As for the Stars, they are taking on the Seattle Kraken, who are making their first postseason run. The Stars undoubtedly have the better star power, but the Kraken have waves of depth being sent on the ice at all times. Jake Oettinger has been one of the best playoff-performing goaltenders over the past two seasons, and the Stars are looking to get back to the Stanley Cup Final since being bounced by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020.