Leon Draisaitl proved on Tuesday he doesn’t need Connor McDavid beside him to lead the league in points.
Draisaitl had a goal and three assists to give him 89 points on the season and Kailer Yamamoto had a pair of goals as the Edmonton Oilers won without their captain in the lineup, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3.
Riley Sheahan and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the Oilers (30-20-6), who will be without McDavid for two to three weeks with a left quad injury.
“With him out, we’re not going to score five goals every night,” Draisaitl said. “But you just have to find ways to win hockey games. Whether it’s 7-6, 5-3, 2-1, 1-0 You have to find a way to have two points in our bank after a game, and we did that tonight.”
Edmonton has won two straight games.
“It’s a huge confidence boost for our team. Any time you can win without the best player in the world” said Yamamoto, who marvelled at Draisaitl’s ability to fill the void with McDavid on the shelf. “That’s insane. We’ve got two of the best players in the world.”
Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews and Adam Boqvist responded for the Blackhawks (25-23-8), who have lost four in a row, including a 5-2 defeat to begin their five-game road trip in Winnipeg.
“Yeah, it’s a tough start to the trip,” said Hawks forward Patrick Kane. “We had a great start in the first period the other night, obviously we didn’t have a great start tonight. Winning both games, and you come out with no points. It’s definitely frustrating.
Sheahan opened scoring 73 second into the game when the rebound from a Zack Kassian shot came out to him in front. Sheahan deposited his seventh goal of the season before Hawks goalie Robin Lehner was able to get back across the crease.
Chicago pulled even six minutes into the opening frame as Kane spun around before making a deft pass to Saad, who beat Oilers starter Mike Smith for his 17th of the campaign.
Toews blasted a one-timer past Smith on a short-handed two-on-one opportunity, giving the Blackhawks the lead with six minutes left to play in the first.
Edmonton atoned with a power-play goal three minutes later as Yamamoto sent home a rebound of an Alex Chiasson shot.
Kane picked up his second assist two minutes into the second period as he made another nice feed to set up a goal by Boqvist.
Yamamoto picked up a puck in front of the net on a second effort 3:38 into the second for his second of the contest, and then made it 4-3 on the power play 72 seconds after that as Nugent-Hopkins funnelled in a rebound in tight.
Toews hit a crossbar in the third, but Edmonton was able to put the game away for good with Draisaitl’s empty net goal with three seconds remaining.
The Blackhawks play the third game of a five-game Canadian trip in Vancouver on Wednesday. The Oilers begin a three-game road swing in Tampa Bay on Thursday.
McDavid’s injury occurred on Saturday in a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators when he crashed into the boards along with opposition defenceman Dante Fabbro in the second period, but was able to finish the game.