Leon Draisaitl had a goal and three assists as the Edmonton Oilers knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 Tuesday night at Rogers Place.
The Oilers were without captain Connor McDavid, who is expected to miss two to three weeks with a quad injury.
“Anytime you can win without the best player in the world, it’s a huge confidence boost for the team,” Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto said after the game.
“Hopefully we can keep it up and hopefully he has a quick recovery.”
LISTEN: Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett
“It doesn’t really affect (us),” Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of McDavid’s absence. “Obviously, you know he’s not going to be part of the power play so you’re kind of trying to guess how it’s going to look. But ultimately we just weren’t good enough.”
The Oilers struck 73 seconds into the game, with Riley Sheahan tapping in his seventh goal of the season.
“They set the attitude with their work ethic,” Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said of Sheahan’s line. “They set the tone of our team and the commitment to doing everything hard.
“We wanted to throw pucks at the net — get people going to the net, and the first shift, they do that and get a goal.”
The Hawks’ Patrick Kane swooped into the Oilers zone and set up Brandon Saad for the equalizer, then Jonathan Toews gave Chicago the lead with a shorthanded one-timer.
“I thought things were pretty shaky at the beginning,” Draisaitl said. “They have some skill over there too and sometimes you can’t really do anything against world-class skill.
“We stuck with it, we battled and it’s a big two points for us.”
On the next Oilers power play, Yamamoto flipped in a loose puck to make it 2-2 after one.
“He steals so many pucks from players and he creates turnovers, so it’s kind of contagious for our group,” Draisaitl said.
Kane made another great pass to set up Adam Boqvist for a goal 1:45 into the second.
“We had a lot of shots in the third,” Kane said. “And pressured them pretty good I thought for that period. Smith made some nice saves but probably would have been better to have that push earlier on in the game.”
Yamamoto came right back with his second goal of the night, then Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored on a power play 1:12 later. The Oilers were up 4-3, and the game was only 24:50 old.
LISTEN: Forward Leon Draisaitl reflects on a four-point night
Edmonton forward Zack Kassian had a breakaway in the first minute of the third but couldn’t slide the puck under Chicago goaltender Robin Lehner. Toews rang a wrister off the crossbar with 7:16 to go.
Oilers netminder Mike Smith stopped 18 pucks in the third, including a dangerous shot from Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat with 30 seconds left. He’s 8-0-2 in his last 10 decisions.
“We got on our heels a little bit and didn’t make enough plays in the third,” Tippett said.
“The players have the mindset — we’ve got ourselves in a good race here — and every team is going through adversities, but it doesn’t mean we can’t compete hard and win.”
Edmonton forward Joakim Nygard, who is out with a broken wrist, signed a one-year contract extension with the Oilers, the team announced on Tuesday.
LISTEN: Forward Kailer Yamamoto
The Oilers (30-20-6) will visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
–With files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott and Kyle Morris
Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of the Edmonton Oilers’ 2019-20 season.