EDMONTON — Connor McDavid gets most of the attention, but he isn’t the only youngster on the Edmonton Oilers making an impact right now.
Leon Draisaitl scored his 10th goal of the season 3:16 into overtime as Edmonton came away with a 3-2 victory over the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
The 21-year-old now has seven goals and 13 points in his last 10 games.
“There is a lot of talk about what Connor does, and that is pretty evident, but I think we are seeing another young guy really emerge as a go-to guy in Leon,” said Oilers coach Todd McLellan.
“I told him on the bench to be the best player on the ice, you don’t have to be the second-best. He responded with the winning goal. I was happy for him.”
Drake Caggiula and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the Oilers (14-10-2), who have won two in a row.
“It’s obviously a big win for us,” said Draisaitl, who is from Germany. “The race is really tight in our conference right now. All the teams up there have the same amount of points, it feels like. Beating a team that we are up against, it’s huge.”
Jordan Eberle assisted on all three Oilers goals.
Ryan Kesler and Rickard Rakell replied for the Ducks (12-8-5), who had a three-game winning streak come to an end.
“Any loss is tough. It was a good job fighting back, it was a bit of a let-down that we couldn’t get the second point,” said Ducks goalie John Gibson, who added that he has no explanation for his team’s difficulty in extra time, having lost five games that way this season.
“We want to take pride in every game we play and obviously we haven’t had the success we want in overtime. Still a lot of time left, so hopefully we can turn it around.”
It was pretty even through the scoreless first period, with Anaheim putting eight shots on Edmonton starter Cam Talbot and the Oilers getting seven on Gibson.
The Oilers took the lead on the power play five minutes into the second period as Patrick Maroon fed a puck through to Caggiula and he had Gibson going the wrong way to record his first career NHL goal.
The Ducks responded midway through the middle frame with a power-play goal of their own, as Kesler swept in a puck from the doorstep for his ninth of the season.
Edmonton regained the lead with 6:25 to play in the second period when Nugent-Hopkins stepped in from the point and beat Gibson with a wrist shot from the top of the circle one second after a power play expired. It was his fourth of the year.
The Ducks tied up the game again midway through the third as a shot deflected out front to Rakell, who put his team-leading 10th goal of the season into a wide-open net.
Talbot had to be especially solid for the remainder of the third to push the game into extra time, where Draisaitl would take a feed in front from Andrej Sekera and score to secure the win.
Both teams are back at it on Sunday night, with the Oilers hosting the Minnesota Wild and the Ducks travelling to Calgary to face the Flames.
NOTES: It was the second of five meetings between the two teams this season, with the Ducks winning the first game in Anaheim 4-1 in mid-November… Anaheim came into the game with a 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games against Edmonton… Oilers defenceman Mark Fayne played just his second game of the season, coming in to replace injured blue-liner Darnell Nurse, who is out long term with a lower-body injury.