JONES: Oilers are over-reliant on McDavid and Draisaitl

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Yes, the Edmonton Oilers have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t.

And, yes, most Edmonton fans wouldn’t trade either of them for any of the Leafs — including Auston Matthews, John Tavares or Mitch Marner.

But last night, playing the 5 p.m. local first game of the night on Hockey Night In Canada, as is the Maple Leafs national duty or something, the Oilers skated their two league-leading point producers into the ice.

And McDavid and Draisaitl couldn’t beat them. Not by themselves.

Before the third sellout crowd of the year at Rogers Place — the first since the second game of the season — the two Canadian teams gave the nation, for most of the evening, a pretty entertaining hockey game.

But it was the fourth consecutive loss of the season for the fading Edmonton team that was in first place in the Pacific Division a week ago. And this one you couldn’t hang on goaltending like the previous pair of losses in particular.

This time, it was three defensive lapses.

For the most part, Edmonton played well and for the longest time there, they had the Maple Leafs on the ropes. They certainly didn’t look like a team on the skids.

But the Oilers did look like a team that needs general manager Ken Holland to return from Russia with some solution beyond more Band-Aids to solve for their McDavid and Draisaitl and Pray For Rain problem.

For a fourth straight game, the Oilers found themselves down by at least two goals. In the first three, they managed to tie it before they ended up losing, either in overtime or regulation.

Not this time, although you could argue they played well enough to deserve a better fate than what turned out to be a 4-1 empty-net loss for a seventh consecutive game and a fourth straight in Rogers Place.

And this was a night when Matthews, Tavares and Marner were kept off the scoresheet, other than the latter’s empty-net goal.

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It was 14 minutes into the second period when the officials called the first penalty of the game to either side when Jake Muzzin was charged with holding while checking McDavid.

The Oilers power play featuring the Dynamic Duo along with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, James Neal and Oscar Klefbom has been the last hope lately.

McDavid and Draisaitl already had been on the ice for half a minute or so when the Oilers went on the power play. And the two stayed out there for the entire two minutes.

There was room to criticize there. But early in the third period, the Oilers returned to the power play and out they came again. This time they were accompanied by Alex Chiasson and this time, in short order, it was Klefbom to Draisaitl to Chiasson to put Edmonton on the scoreboard and cut Toronto’s lead in half.

It was the seventh straight game that the Oilers scored on a power play that went into the game with a league-leading 32 goals on an even 100 attempts for easy math to come up with their percentage.

The goal made it a league leading 48 power play goals that the Dynamic Duo has produced so far this season.

Draisaitl moved up to 56 points, one behind McDavid’s league leading 57.

But that was it.

It’s 36 games into the season and whether head coach Dave Tippett plays them together or occasionally splits them up — as had been the case in the previous run of games — he has no choice but to skate them into the ice.

You could make a case that he ought to make some of their shifts shorter. And going 2 1/2 minutes on the ice through an entire power play is open to some debate.

The two went into the game Saturday leading all NHL forwards in ice time, Draisaitl with 22:48 per game and McDavid with 22:23.

Against the Leafs, McDavid clocked 22:22 and Draisaitl 22:31. By contrast Matthews played 14:34, Tavares 20:02 and Marner 21:21.

Ice time is becoming more of a focus with this team as the Dynamic Duo gets worn down getting shut down.

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