Yesterday, Leon Draisaitl was plying his trade for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.
Today, he’s the toast of Edmonton.
Recalled on Thursday afternoon, Draisaitl scored twice on Thursday night — including the game-winning tally with 62 seconds left — to give the Oilers an improbable 4-3 win over Montreal at Rexall.
It was a memorable evening for the Oilers and their fans — though for the first 39 minutes, it sure didn’t feel that way.
The Canadiens jumped out to a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from Brendan Gallagher, Torrey Mitchell and Alex Galchenyuk. They looked very much like the team that started the year 9-0-0, and very much like a team looking to bury Tuesday’s disappointing 5-1 loss in Vancouver.
But then, things changed.
With less than a minute to go in the second period, Draisaitl scored his first of the night on assists from Taylor Hall and Oscar Klefbom. That gave the Oilers life heading into the third, when the Connor McDavid show took center stage.
Edmonton kept pouring on the pressure — they out-shot the Habs 22-10 over the final two periods — and were rewarded late, when Draisaitl scored his second of the evening off assists from Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
It was a wild, crazy game that could go a long way in defining the Oilers’ season.
And at the very least, it’s something the club can look back on fondly.
“Nobody was happy with our start, but we stuck with it,” head coach Todd McLellan said afterward. “It’s something we can be proud of and build on.”