Knoblauch: 'Vastly unfair' to say Draisaitl has played poorly in SCF – Football News

Knoblauch: 'Vastly unfair' to say Draisaitl has played poorly in SCF

Oilers superstar Leon Draisaitl has yet to register a point in the Stanley Cup Final, but he has the support of head coach Kris Knoblauch ahead of Edmonton’s must-win Game 4 on Saturday night.

“I’ve seen Leon obviously play better, but to say he’s playing poorly, I think, is vastly unfair,” the bench boss said. “I think he’s helping a lot, but like our team, everyone can be a little bit better. He takes a lot of pride in his game, he doesn’t hide anything, he doesn’t make excuses. … He’s been pretty, pretty good in pretty much every game that I’ve seen him play.”

Draisaitl was dominant through the first three rounds of the postseason, amassing 10 goals and 28 points in 18 outings. He’s since been stymied by the Florida Panthers and netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Draisaitl has fired nine shots on net and 16 shots at all strengths in the series, per Natural Stat Trick.

Knoblauch called Draisaitl “the catalyst” on Ryan McLeod’s goal in Game 3, though he didn’t earn a point on the play.

“It’s not too often Leon’s held off the scoresheet like he has been,” he said. “But I think he has been contributing. … Sometimes it’s not fair to just judge a player on his points, his goals and assists.”

Draisaitl was critical of his own play following Edmonton’s loss Thursday that put the team on the brink of elimination, saying he had to “look in the mirror and try to be better.”

The Oilers’ quest to stay alive will get a bit easier if Draisaitl finds a way to break through, but Knoblauch knows they’re in for a “challenge” as they try to climb out of a 3-0 hole.

“If there’s a group of men that I want to do this with, it’s the guys in that room,” he said. “From what I’ve seen through this season, how resilient they are, their perseverance, their focus, their attitude. I’m really excited for the next 10 days.”

Puck drops on Game 4 at 8 p.m. ET.

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