Leon Draisaitl frustrated but makes it clear, “We’re not quitting”

draisaitl snaps at reporter
Jan 5, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) and forward Ryan McLeod (71) react after an empty net goal by the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers lost yet again yesterday and the frustration is mounting in the locker room and on the bench. Ilya Mikheyev scored the go-ahead goal on a power play in the third period and the Toronto Maple Leafs came away with a 4-2 victory as Dave Tippet’s team is now 2-9-2 in its last 13 games.

After the game, an absolutely frustrated Leon Draisaitl answered questions in almost disbelief over the situation.

Draisiatl says Oilers not quitting

At one point during the brief interview, Draisaitl was asked if the team was possibly quitting on the coach.

“We’re not quitting on anyone,” Draisaitl snapped back. “We’re not quitting on our coach, we’re not quitting on ourselves as players, our team, our goalies, nobody. We’re not quitting.”

Draisaitl tapped home his 26th of the season in the loss but isn’t taking much solace in any individual accomplishments. Instead, he’s keeping focus on getting the team on track.

“There’s lots of season left,” he continued. “But it’s frustrating. Eventually you have to find a way to turn it around.”

The Oilers were without Connor McDavid, Derek Ryan and Tyson Barrie who were placed in COVID-19 protocols. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (undisclosed) also was out. Zack Kassian returned from protocols.

“You hope that there’s better days ahead,” Draisaitl said as he clutched his face. “No one wants to lose. We’re losing for a long time now… We’re hurting with key players out, that never helps — We’ve just got to figure it out eventually.”

More bad bounces leading to more frustrations

leon draisaitl frustrated
Jan 5, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto scored a fortunate goal at 4:25. Tavares was given credit for his 14th goal of the season when he swatted at the puck after Nylander’s shot took a big bounce off the end boards. The puck went into the net off Smith’s foot.

Edmonton struck for two quick goals.

Perlini scored his second of the season at 9:58 from the slot on a pass from Colton Sceviour.

Brodie tied the game at 19:32 when his shot from the point deflected off the stick of defenseman Evan Bouchard and bounced in off the leg of his defense partner, Darnell Nurse. It was Brodie’s third goal of the season, all in the past three games.

Toronto led 15-9 in shots on goal after one period.

Mitchell Marner hit a goal post for Toronto at 14:32 of the second period during a power play.

Toronto had a 22-17 advantage in shots on goal after the second period.

Mikheyev scored his third goal of the season on a power play at 11:25 of the third period from the slot. Bouchard was off for tripping.

Kerfoot scored his fifth goal of the season into an empty net at 19:45.

“There was lots of try in our game, lots of push, lots of people trying to have an impact on the game, which is good to see,” Tippett said. “We just can’t get that play made that makes a difference on the positive side for us.”

–Field Level Media contributed to this report