Draisaitl, McDavid team up to lead Oilers to overtime win against Colorado

What if, heaven forbid, McDavid and Draisaitl spend the next few years together on the Oilers top line? Would that be so bad? Because let’s face it, they're pretty amazing when they’re on the ice together.

Dynamic duo combined for four points Thursday night while racking up a whopping 13 shots on goal

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid scores the game winner on Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov during overtime at Rogers Place on Thursday evening. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Here's a strange thought: what if it's not such a great idea, over the long run, to break up Connor and Leon?

What if, heaven forbid, McDavid and Draisaitl spend the next few years together on the Oilers top line?

Would that be so bad?

Because let's face it, they're pretty amazing when they're on the ice together.

The pair teamed up on the Oilers' first goal on Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche, and 60 minutes later, did it all over again in overtime to earn the home team a 3-2 victory.

It's not like they haven't done this kind of thing before.

So, given that this season is a goner, maybe it's time to start thinking about welding these two together come next September. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would make a pretty decent second-line centre, no?

Just a thought.

Just kinda throwing that out there, as we look ahead to next season.

Feel free to disagree, while we take time to note that the dynamic duo combined for four points on Thursday night while racking up a whopping 13 shots on goal.

Here's something else that's pretty amazing.

Hey buddy, you missed a nice goal!

Game after game at Rogers Place, and likely at every arena across the NHL, a small cohort of fans willingly pony up big bucks for the best lower-bowl seats. Then, between periods, spend far too long lollygagging around in the food-and-beverage area.

What's up with that? If you need another beer that badly, perhaps you have bigger problems than a losing hockey team.

In any case, the laggards who skipped the early part of the second period missed one of the prettiest goals the Oilers have scored all year.

Draisaitl had the puck, as he did much of the night. He cruised across the top of the Colorado zone, swerved toward the net, quick-boogied the puck between the feet of Mikko Rantanen, then slipped a backhand shot under the arm of Semyon Varlamov to put the Oilers on the board at the 2:45 mark of the second period.

The play was a sudden and stark reminder of just how talented Draisaitl is with the puck.

Asked about the deke on Rantanen, Draisaitl said: "I had an idea that it was a forward, otherwise I don't know if I would have tried it. Because you don't beat many NHL defenceman that way."

The goal gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead in a game they dominated from the start.

They found their game early against Colorado, and kept pouring shots on net. A whole passel of good things happened as a result. They took control of the game and created several grade-A scoring chances. By the end of 20 minutes, the Oilers had 19 shots on goal and another 14 shot attempts that were blocked or went wide.

Contrast that with their first period on Tuesday against Boston, when they were out shot 13-3 in the first period.

Top line dangerous all night

With Patrick Maroon out of the lineup, Oilers coach Todd McLellan cobbled together a rarely-used line, shifting Milan Lucic up to play with McDavid and Draisaitl. They were dangerous all game.

Late in the second period, the Oilers fourth line chipped in a hardworking goal. With Jesse Puljujarvi banging away behind the net, the puck slipped free to Mark Letestu. He centred it to Zack Kassian, who scored his seventh of the season to make it 2-0.

For the second game in a row, the Oilers squandered the two-goal lead. A Colorado goal late in the second and one early in the third tied the game and eventually sent it to overtime.

Draisaitl and McDavid started the overtime period together, as they always do, and played more than a minute, then had to switch off for fresh troops. A minute later, they were back.

This time, Draisailt took the puck in the left circle and swooped out toward the Avalanche blue line, with rookie defenceman Samuel Girard all over him. Draisaitl used his strength to swat the kid away with his left arm then sped toward the net to create a two-on-two down low. He split the two Avalanche forwards and fed a perfect pass to McDavid. Easy goal. Oilers win.
Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid celebrates the game-winning goal during overtime against the Colorado Avalanche. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

"He's one of the best players in the world," McDavid said later of his line mate, before he talked about the overtime.

"We've done it so long now," he said. "We've played together on three-on-three basically every shift. So we know what to expect and what to look for."

To repeat our theme, maybe breaking them up is a bad idea. Just saying.

About the Author

Rick McConnell

Rick McConnell has a boxful of journalism awards buried somewhere in his basement. He covers the Oilers and toils as a copy editor for CBC Edmonton.