Draisaitl a game-time decision for Game 7 between Edmonton and Los Angeles – Edmonton | The Canadian News

“It’s just that time of year,” is all Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft had to say about Leon Draisaitl’s condition before Game 7 between the Oilers and Kings at Rogers Place on Saturday.

Despite helping extend the series with timely contributions on the scoresheet, Edmonton’s huge German scoring machine is clearly working and left Game 6 for a brief period after a brutal takedown by Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson.

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

Draisaitl did not participate in Saturday morning skating, as did defenseman Brett Kulak for precautionary reasons.

Edmonton is 6-4 all-time in Game 7 and Saturday will mark the first time since 1990 that the Oilers will host a decisive game. Los Angeles is 7-4 in history, including a 5-3 road record.

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“We realize that the challenge ahead of us is complex, but we believe we are ready for it,” said Woodcroft. “We have great faith in ourselves 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 that feeds off the energy of the crowd, then use it,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. “If you’re a guy who likes to keep things quieter in your head, then calm down. He is going to be loud. We absolutely love our fans.”

“We think it’s a privilege to play for our fan base and to be a proud Canadian franchise, and we’re excited about 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 didn’t mean to headbutt a guy, but the Player Safety Department made their decision and I respect that,” Nurse said.

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

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

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

“Our approach is like any other day. The stakes are high, 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 go on to face the winner of the first round matchup of Calgary and Dallas.

Pregame coverage at 630 CHED begins at 6 pm Disc delivery from Rogers Place will follow at 8:00 pm MT.

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