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Draisaitl, Larsson, Letestu help Oilers to 1-0 Series Lead

Goals from expected and unexpected sources lead Oilers

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Edmonton Oilers at Anaheim Ducks
Adam Larsson, Goal Scorer
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

If you want to get far in the playoffs, games where unexpected sources get you goals are key. In 2006, Fernando Pisani lead the team with 14 goals in 24 games. Guys like Brad Winchester, Toby Peterson and Georges Laraque all found the back of the net.

In 2017, it was Adam Larsson and Mark Letestu’s turn to find twine. Twice each in fact. Both of Letestu’s goals came on the power play, where he’s been a factor all season long (11 of his 16 regular season goals and all 3 of his post season goals were on the PP).

Adam Larsson though? He had a game he’ll remember. After scoring just 4 all season, the Oilers blueliner scored his first of the game on an odd man rush after he jumped into the play on a bad Ducks change. Leon Draisaitl (more on him later), found him all alone in the slot and he made no mistake.

His second goal saw him carry the puck from the Oilers end, down deep into the Ducks zone and below the goal line before banking it in off Ducks defender Josh Manson. Larsson’s ability to carry the puck and show the patience to find the open ice the Ducks gave him, is something he hasn’t done much in his time in Edmonton, but if it’s an element of his game he’s comfortable with, he should do it a lot more. Instead of dumping the puck in he kept possession and good things happen when you have the puck and don’t have to chase after it.

Another standout Oiler was Leon Draisaitl. 1 goal and 3 assists is great news for the Oilers who weren’t getting enough production out of their top 6 forwards so far in the playoffs. Whatever was ailing Draisaitl against the Sharks (he missed a couple of morning skates), looks to be behind him. He played a strong game at both ends of the ice and generated his assists off not just his passing, but his willingness to shoot the puck for rebounds.

If there’s a knock on this game, it’s that after the Oilers scored 2 quick goals in the 3rd to take a 3-1 lead, they let the Ducks back into the game. Both Anaheim goals were scored of deflections/rebounds where the Oilers weren’t able to box out Duck forwards. Leads are a precious commodity in the playoffs and the Oilers were fortunate not to have squandered game 1.

A 1-0 series lead is huge for Edmonton. When you are the lower seed you always want to at least get a split on the road and the Oilers have that, with the opportunity to head home up 2-0.

These playoffs have had some similarities to the 2006 run:

The Oilers play both San Jose and Anaheim.
The Oilers had to bounce back after having a rough time in San Jose’s rink.
The Oilers get an early series lead on Anaheim on the road.

So what I’m saying is, keep Marc-Andre Bergeron away from Talbot...