The Oilers win overtime as McDavid and Draisaitl display their superpowers.

Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, two of the Edmonton Oilers’ superstars, have each put on two outstanding performances to help square the series against the Vancouver Canucks in the second round.

Coach Rick Tocchet stated, “There were a lot of storylines in this game,” following Friday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers by the Vancouver Canucks. “But I think the top storyline is, McDavid and Draisaitl were terrific tonight.”

The best-of-seven series was tied 1-1 thanks to two outstanding performances that were unquestionable even from the opposite bench.

Together with right wing Zach Hyman, defensemen Mattias Ekholm and Evan Bouchard, and Connor McDavid, who each finished with three assists, they formed a potent five-man unit that assisted to every Edmonton goal.

Both strikers helped Ekholm on his second playoff goal. “They’re the top two players in the world, in my mind,” Ekholm remarked. “When they put on a show like they did tonight, when they bring their ‘A’ game, it’s hard to stop.”

McDavid was coming off the first postseason game in his 55-year career in which he did not register a single shot on goal. In Game 1, Draisaitl had three shots on goal and two assists. However, he departed the game during the second half and appeared uncharacteristic in the third, when the Canucks were winning 5-4 despite trailing 4-1.

Draisaitl didn’t practice and was a game-time decision until after warmup on Friday, despite the Oilers refusing to provide any concrete information on his injury.

Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch stated that he slipped Draisaitl into the left wing with an eye toward shielding him once it was established that he was fit for action.

“To not have to play heavy minutes in the middle, faceoffs, it’s a little more physical, a little more demanding,” Knoblauch stated. “But there was no need to protect him, the way he played tonight. Obviously, the way that line was playing, we weren’t going to put him back to center. We just continued to play them.”

Furthermore, despite not being a center player, Draisaitl drew more draws than any other Oiler, finishing the game 9 for 19 in the circle. In 27:05 of ice time, he also attempted 11 shots; the only players who attempted more were Bouchard (29:59) and McDavid (28:12).

“We had that first penalty kill, and the face-off’s on the one side,” Knoblauch stated. “He’s looking over like, ‘Do you want me to take it?’ and as soon as he gave me that look, I knew that, ‘Okay, we’re going to be fine.'”

It’s not unusual to see Draisaitl enter beast mode while hurt.

Even though he sprained his high ankle in Game 6 of the Oilers’ first-round series against the Kings two years prior, he managed to assist on the goal that ultimately won the series in Game 7. The Colorado Avalanche eliminated Edmonton from the Western Conference Final after he scored 23 points in the following nine games.

Before Bouchard’s shot deflected off defender Ian Cole and past Arturs Silovs to earn Edmonton its first win of the year in six games with Vancouver thus far, the Oilers had trailed 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 on Friday but had rallied each time.

Elias Pettersson scored the first goal on a Vancouver power play, but Draisaitl responded for Edmonton with a man advantage, scoring from the slot following a pass and exchange with McDavid.

The next three goals Edmonton scored were all assisted by him.

The fact that Draisaitl and McDavid appear to bring out the best in each other is among the most remarkable things about their strong friendship. McDavid, for his part, had a four-point night and went 8 for 15 in face-offs. And at 5:27 of the third, he converted a steal into a breakaway goal to tie the score as the Oilers began to shift the tide of play in their favor.

McDavid’s wind-up from the defensive zone in overtime provided the Oilers with the momentum they needed to press the Canucks and created the opportunity for Bouchard’s game-winning goal.

McDavid and Draisaitl are leading the NHL playoff scoring race after just seven games played. They are separated by just one point and have a large lead over third-place Matthew Tkachuk.

Now that they have played in 56 postseason games together and scored over 90 points apiece, they have joined exclusive company.

Knoblauch could find it even simpler to obtain the matchups he wants when the series moves to Edmonton for Game 3 on Sunday. Seven games into his NHL playoff debut, the rookie bench boss already has a 5-2 record and has made many wise choices.

Rick Tocchet, it’s your turn. We have a series of our own.

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