“Leo’s fine”: Oilers downplay Draisaitl’s potential injury in Game 1 collapse

The Edmonton Oilers dropped Game 1 to the Vancouver Canucks, though that wasn’t the only potential loss fans were worried about.

Around midway point of the second period, Leon Draisailt was not on the Oilers bench, and didn’t return for the remainder of the frame. At the intermission, a clip showed the 28-year-old attempt to take one final shift, before immediately turning back to the bench and heading down the tunnel.

Draisaitl did return for the third, though there were several instances where he appeared to be lingering. Head coach Kris Knoblauch told reporters postgame, however, that it was nothing more than cramping and equipment issues.

Connor McDavid admitted that it was difficult adjusting during the time Draisaitl missed, but also seemed to downplay any sort of serious injury fans feared he may be dealing with.

“Obviously lots going on on the bench,” McDavid said. “But Leo’s fine.”

While Oilers fans can breathe a sigh of relief on the Draisaitl front, the game itself is a major cause for concern. It appeared the Oilers had this one in the bag after a goal from Zach Hyman, his second of the contest, gave them a 4-1 lead in the second period.

With just three minutes remaining in the second period, however, Elias Lindholm was able to bank one in off of Stuart Skinner from behind the net to give the Canucks some life.

That goal turned out to be massive, as the Canucks completely dominated in the third, holding the Oilers to just three shots. After relentless pressure, they were able to tie the game up with less than seven minutes remaining in the third thanks to a bomb off the stick of Nikita Zadorov.

The Oilers appeared to be completely deflated after Zadorov tied things up, and any little bit of hope they still had evaporated just over 30 seconds later, when Conor Garland beat Skinner on a shot he would like to have back.

Skinner ended the game allowing five goals on just 24 shots, which paled into comparison to the strong performance he put up for the majority of the Oilers first-round series win over the LA Kings.

“Stu has won us so many games,” Knoblauch said. “He’s played so spectacular through the year. There’s going to be games where it’s not his A game. He’ll be the first to admit tonight wasn’t his A game, but we never doubt him with how he plays and, more importantly, how he responds after a game that wasn’t his best.”

Despite the loss, the Oilers goaltender appeared in good spirits afterward, but admitted the goal allowed to Garland was one that shouldn’t have gone in.

“I thought I played really well until the third period,” Skinner said. “Made some good saves. Even in the third period, made some good saves, but definitely don’t like Garland scoring.”

With the loss, the Oilers have now dropped five straight versus the Vancouver Canucks this season. They’ll hope for better results in Game 2, which will get underway Friday night.