Edmonton Oilers superstar Leon Draisaitl has taken his game to new heights this season. He is already the best player ever born and trained in Germany, and now he’s among the best players in the NHL.
After scoring 50 goals and 105 points in 82 games in 2018-19, Draisaitl has put up 43 goals and 110 points in just 71 games this season. He has a 13-point lead in the Art Ross Trophy race over his teammate and best player in the world Connor McDavid.
The fact that Draisaitl has been as important to the Oilers’ success this season as McDavid, if not more, drives home how dominant he has been. The Oilers have a 36-15-5 record (.687 points percentage) in the 56 games when Draisaitl has tallied at least one point.
Here are his top five games of the 2019-20 season (so far):
5: Draisaitl Leads Comeback Against Canucks
After dropping the first game of a home-and-home series to the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 30 at Rogers Place, the Oilers needed a win the following night to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season. Trailing 2-1 in the second period, McDavid threaded a perfect pass to Draisaitl, who promptly fired it past Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom to tie the game.
Loui Eriksson was called for an interference penalty late in the frame, which carried over to the third period. With just two seconds left with the man advantage, Draisaitl scored his second power-play marker of the night, and the eventual game-winning goal from almost the same spot as his first tally, and the Oilers picked up a 3-2 victory.
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The 24-year-old has 10 multi-goal games this season, but what made this outing memorable was that he scored a pair of clutch goals to help the Oilers beat a division rival on the road in regulation.
4: Draisaitl Tallies Four Assists in Anaheim
Elite players often have success against certain teams. Draisaitl has notched 12 goals and 23 points in 22 games against the Anaheim Ducks in his career. His most memorable game was undoubtedly Game 6 of the Oilers’ 2017 Playoff series against the Ducks when he scored a hat trick and five points in a commanding 7-1 win.
In the first meeting between the clubs this season, Draisaitl fed a nice pass to McDavid in full flight, who skated around three Ducks players before scoring to put the Oilers up 2-1. Draisaitl assisted on all three of McDavid’s goals and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ tally, as the Oilers defeated the Ducks 6-2. It was the first of Draisaitl’s five four-point games this season.
McDavid stole the show in Anaheim on Nov. 10 with a hat trick and a highlight-reel goal, but Draisaitl finished with a game-high four points as well as a point in each period.
3: Draisaitl Becomes the Franchise Overtime Goals Leader
Last season, Alex Ovechkin scored 51 goals to capture his eighth Maurice Richard Trophy since 2007-08. He edged out Draisaitl by just one goal. The top two goal scorers in 2018-19 faced off for the first time this season at Rogers Place on Oct. 24.
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With a 7-2-1 record through 10 games, the Oilers met their toughest opponent on paper when the Washington Capitals rolled into town. Ovechkin had the upper hand through 40 minutes with two goals in the second period. However, Draisaitl responded with a goal early in the third period to cut the deficit to one.
McDavid then buried the game-tying goal with 98 seconds remaining on the clock to send the game to overtime. In the extra frame, Draisaitl scooped up the loose puck behind the net and led a 3-on-1 rush up ice. As they entered the Capitals’ zone, Draisaitl made a great feed to McDavid, who slid the puck right back to him for the overtime winner.
It was Draisaitl’s eighth career overtime goal, which moved him past McDavid and Jari Kurri as the franchise leader in OT goals. Ovechkin took home the Richard Trophy in 2018-19, but Draisaitl’s team was victorious on this night.
2: The Dynamic Duo Combine for 11 Points in Rout of Avalanche
After a disappointing 6-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on the road, the Oilers aimed to get back on track at home against the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 14. Zack Kassian set the tone early with a massive hit on Nathan MacKinnon, but the Avalanche struck first just 80 seconds into the game.
However, Draisaitl picked up three assists in 9:35 to help put the Oilers in front 4-1. In the second period, he became the first player in the league to reach the 40-point mark this season by assisting on McDavid’s hat trick goal. Also in the second frame, Draisaitl registered his fifth point of the game on Nugent-Hopkins’ power-play marker as the Oilers cruised to a 6-2 win.
Although Draisaitl scored a career-best five points, McDavid was named the game’s first star with three goals and six points. Still, Draisaitl joined Wayne Gretzky and Nugent-Hopkins as the only players in Oilers history to tally five assists in a single game. Additionally, his 41 points were the most by an NHL player through 21 games since Mario Lemieux had 45 in 2002-03.
1: Draisaitl Scores 4 Goals in Nashville
Like the Ducks, the Nashville Predators are another club that Draisaitl has produced well against. Going into their game in Nashville on Mar. 2, Draisaitl had three consecutive multi-goal games against the Predators.
With the Oilers up 1-0 late in the first period, he extended the lead with 29 seconds remaining in the opening frame. After the Predators responded with two goals 14 seconds apart in the second, Draisaitl assisted on Kailer Yamamoto’s goal to give the Oilers back the lead.
Tied 3-3 in the third period, he took over the game. The Oilers exploded for five unanswered goals in 5:13 to beat the Predators 8-3, including a third-period hat trick and an assist for Draisaitl. It was his second five-point game of the season and first career four-goal game in the NHL.
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McDavid also picked up five points (one goal and four assists) in the victory. The two became the first set of Oilers teammates to score five points in the same game multiple times in a season since Gretzky achieved the feat twice each with Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson and Paul Coffey in 1985-86.
Eric Friesen is a freelance sports broadcaster and journalist in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Eric has diplomas in Broadcasting from Mount Royal University in Calgary and Sports Journalism from Centennial College in Toronto. A lifelong hockey fan, Eric has followed the Edmonton Oilers for more than 20 years. He cheers for the Oilers because of his hockey hero Wayne Gretzky, who played his more productive seasons in Oil Country.