Rarely in recent years have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl had such little influence on Edmonton Oilers matches and for the two main players, this is a real challenge.
Held off the scoresheet five times in his last eight games, McDavid certainly found a dose of satisfaction by scoring two goals in the Oilers’ 5-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Monday night at the BB&T Center.
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McDavid hasn’t looked quite the same since his injury suffered towards the end of October. His team did not deliver the goods and for a rare time during his career in the National League, he went below the point per game mark.
Number 97, however, reminded everyone that he is a great player against the Panthers. He first opened the scoring with a goal from an impossible angle, then he earned a penalty shot. McDavid didn’t miss his chance, surprising Sergei Bobrovsky with a quick shot.
“Look, we’ve been doing this for a really long time. We will return to our level. We never stop believing in it, even if some do. We believe, not only in ourselves, but in each member of our group,” he told Sportsnet before the evening game.
Nonetheless, the Oilers squandered two leads, including a 2-0 lead in the first period. Nothing was going well for some players, including defenseman Philip Broberg, who tripped on a loose stick in a tuck, opening the door to the Panthers’ third net. Niko Mikkola had no trouble beating Calvin Pickard for his second goal of the game.
Feeling of helplessness
If things are better for Draisaitl, who has 22 points in 17 games, that doesn’t stop him from feeling helpless this season. The 28-year-old center player has only six goals on his record, having surpassed the 50 mark in his last two campaigns.
“We are certainly not producing up to our standards. It seems like things are harder than they normally are, and it’s taking its toll. You know, we’re human beings and we take this seriously. I am working to get back to my level of play as soon as possible,” the German told Sportsnet.
“It never happened that we both felt like that,” added Draisaitl, who added an assist to his tally, referring to McDavid.
In his first big league start since March, Pickard faced 26 shots. Kevin Stenlund, author of three points, as well as Carter Verhaeghe also thwarted him, while Sam Bennett hit the target in an empty net.