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NHL - US Sports: Oilers top line sets the tone

Coach Jay Woodcroft believes his top forward line of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane are setting the tone for the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Oilers, 9/1 to be crowned Stanley Cup Champions, took a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference Second Round series against the Calgary Flames on Sunday with McDavid, Draisaitl and Kane combining for 10 points in a 4-1 win.

Top three impress

Kane scored a natural hat-trick, Draisaitl had four assists and McDavid three helpers, but Woodcroft pointed to their play away from the puck as reason for their success in the playoffs so far.

McDavid, a plus-16, leads the playoffs with a spectacular 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in ten games. His points tally is as much or more than five of the last eight skaters to win the Conne Smythe trophy as the most valuable player in the post-season. McDavid is 12/1 to win the award this season.

Draisaitl, plus-four, ranks second of all players in the playoffs with 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists).

Kane, plus-nine, has scored a playoff best ten goals, and with three assists he has 13 points.

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Best players setting standards

Woodcroft took over as the Oilers coach on 10th February following the firing of Dave Tippett. His 26-9-3 record and .724 winning percentage helped the Oilers to a 49-27-6 finish in the regular season and second place in the Pacific Division.

Woodcroft said about the trio to the media: "Obviously they made some plays on those goals and were spectacular, but I would go to their checking, though.

"That line, I think Connor and Leon both finished plus-4. When our best players are leading the way defensively and setting the tone for what's expected for the full 200 feet of the rink, I think it makes us a better team."

Game 4 of the series is in Edmonton on Tuesday.

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