Leon Draisaitl is getting closer and closer to his dream of winning the Stanley Cup. The German national player breaks one record after the other - for his coach he is the "best passer in the world". His congenial storm partner Connor McDavid is also enthusiastic.
After his next gala on the way to the dream goal of the Stanley Cup, Leon Draisaitl absolutely didn't want to be the center of attention. "I'm not going to stand here and talk about myself," said the exceptional performer after almost single-handedly leading the Edmonton Oilers to the semifinals of the NHL playoffs: "I think our entire team did a great job. I'm really proud of the boys."
But others talked about him, the hymns of praise came from all sides. "He was incredible," praised Draisaitl's congenial strike partner Connor McDavid: "It's hard to put into words how great he was out there. He dominated every game from start to finish." The boss even gave him a knighthood. "I think he's the best passer in the NHL, the best passer in the world, and the number of plays he's making for our team is incredible. He's a total fighter," said coach Jay Woodcraft.
Draisaitl has not previously had a love affair with the playoffs, having won just one series in his previous seven NHL seasons. Now, after five minutes of overtime, he set up McDavid in the fifth game against the Calgary Flames and with four assists laid the foundation for the Oilers' first semifinal appearance in 16 years - it's his playoffs so far.
In the 4-1 win in the best-of-seven series, the native of Cologne set marks for the history books. On average, Draisaitl managed three assists per match, he collected an unbelievable 17 points in the five quarter-final duels - the third most ever in a series. Draisaitl completed five play-off games in a row with at least three points, after just four games he had become the sole record holder. In addition, he was the first NHL player to provide four assists in a third of a playoff game in the third duel.
Post-season, the three-time Allstar shares the lead with McDavid in the scorer's standings with 26 points. In general, however, such a triumph for the Oilers was not foreseeable. "We had a lot of difficult moments where people were hard on us and said we can't win. We haven't won anything yet, but we've taken the next step. It feels great," said Germany Sportsman of the year 2020.
The team is now "only halfway there, we can achieve even more". The Stanley Cup is the "ultimate goal. That's why we celebrate for a day and prepare for the next round." Then it's up against the Colorado Avalanche for Nico Sturm or the St. Louis Blues for a place in the final. Meanwhile, in the Eastern Conference, the Carolina Hurricanes led 3-2 against the New York Rangers and were one win away from reaching the playoff semifinals where the Tampa Bay Lightning would be waiting. The Hurricanes won 3-1 (1-1, 1-0, 1-0) and remain unbeaten at home after seven home games in these playoffs.