Draisaitl game time decision for game 7 between Edmonton and Los Angeles – Edmonton OCN News

‘It’s just that time of year’ is all Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft hinted at on Leon Draisaitl’s status ahead of Game 7 between the Oilers and Kings at Rogers Place Saturday.

Although he helped extend the series with timely contributions on the scoresheet, Edmonton’s huge German scoring machine is clearly in trouble and left game 6 for a brief period after a vicious withdrawal from the defender of the Kings Mikey Anderson.

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“I know what I saw. Probably the same thing you did,” Woodcroft said.

Draisaitl was sidelined from practice on Saturday morning, as was defender Brett Kulak for precautionary reasons.

Edmonton is 6-4 all-time in Game 7 and Saturday will mark the first time since 1990 the Oilers have hosted a deciding game. Los Angeles is 7-4 all-time, including a 5-3 record on the road.

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“We realize the challenge ahead of us is complex, but we believe we are ready to meet it,” Woodcroft said. “We have strong self-confidence and we have a clear understanding of what makes us a good team and we want to play towards that identity.”

Managing emotions promises to be a big part of Edmonton’s task, with more than 18,500 people expected inside Rogers Place once again.

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“If you’re a guy who feeds off the energy of the crowd, then use it,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. “If you’re a guy who likes to keep quiet in his head, then calm him down. It’s gonna be noisy. We absolutely love our fans.

“We feel it’s a privilege to play for our fanbase and be a proud Canadian franchise, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to win a game here at home,” Woodcroft said.

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Darnell Nurse is back after serving his one-game suspension for headbutting Kings center Philip Danault in the second period of Game 5

“I had no intention of hitting a guy with my head, but the player safety department made their call and I respect that,” Nurse said.

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Nurse, McDavid, Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all skated in the last Game 7 Edmonton played in, Round 2 of the 2017 playoffs against Anaheim. The Oilers lost 2-1 that night and haven’t returned to the second round since.

Edmonton finished five points ahead of Los Angeles in the Pacific Division standings and boasts the NHL’s leading playoff scorer, Connor McDavid, whose nine assists and 12 points pace the field.

As for what’s left to plan after six straight meetings, Woodcroft says “it’s almost like you know what they eat for breakfast, so your preparation is really at the granular level.”

“Our approach is like any other day. There’s a lot at stake, but at the same time, it’s just hockey,” Nurse said. “We played with our lives on the line in Game 6 and this one is no different.”

The winner of this series will face the winner of the opening game between Calgary and Dallas.

Pregame coverage on 630 CHED begins at 6 p.m. The Rogers Place puck drop will follow at 8:20 p.m. MT.

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