McDavid has another multi-point night as Oilers beat Flames

Leon Draisaitl assisted on all 4 goals for Edmonton

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97), Ethan Bear (74) and Kailer Yamamoto (56) celebrate a goal on Saturday. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97), Ethan Bear (74) and Kailer Yamamoto (56) celebrate a goal on Saturday. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

It didn’t come as a surprise to Connor McDavid’s teammates that the Oilers captain had an offensive outburst, one game after being shut down by the opposition.

McDavid scored and added two assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames Saturday night in the final game between the Alberta rivals this season.

The offensive performance came two days after the Flames kept McDavid off the score sheet for the third time this year in a 5-3 Calgary win.

“Nothing ceases to amaze me with this kid,” said Oilers goalie Mike Smith, who made 29 saves for his 18th win. “It’s incredible how he continues to get better and better. ΓǪ When he gets shut down one game, the next game he’s that much more hungry to get out there and help the team win. It says a lot about the maturity of him as a person.

“Everybody knows how incredible he is on the ice, but I’ve seen a young man grow into a leader of this hockey club.”

The Flames took pride in blanking McDavid on Thursday but it didn’t take long for Edmonton’s points leader to get off the mark on Saturday.

McDavid put the Oilers in front 1-0 with an end-to-end play at 4:46 of the first on the power play. Starting behind his own net, the Edmonton captain fed Leon Draisaitl in the neutral zone before getting the pass back at the blue line. McDavid then charged past two defencemen, dangled the puck in front of Christopher Tanev and snapped it high past Jacob Markstrom for his 29th on the year.

It was the first of four assists for Draisaitl on the night.

The Oilers (30-17-2) doubled their lead a few minutes later with McDavid turning provider. A good cycle play in the offensive zone ended when McDavid found Ethan Bear at the side of the net. Bear’s one-timer, which may have taken a slight deflection off Nikita Nesterov, beat Markstrom stick side at 7:19.

McDavid nearly scored another in the second period, on the power play, but he didn’t get everything on a shot that was stopped by defenceman Michael Stone on the doorstep.

“In a playoff series, you can’t lose two in a row,” said McDavid, who was playing his 400th career NHL game. “We were able to bounce back in a series where they’re fighting for their life. It’s desperate hockey, it’s playoff hockey. Thought we did a great job responding.”

It was another critical game for Calgary (22-25-3), who lost ground in the divisional playoff race and are now eight points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Habs came from behind to defeat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in overtime earlier Saturday.

Down 2-1 in the third, Calgary pressed for the equaliser while playing carefully enough to avoid conceding again. But Smith stopped all 11 shots he faced in the frame.

Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau was denied a great chance to get on the board early in the second when his shot on the breakaway beat Smith but rang off the crossbar.

Gaudreau wouldn’t be denied later in the frame, though, when he extended his point streak to seven games with a tally at 10:48. Matthew Tkachuk powered his way to the net and fired a shot on Smith, who kicked it with his pad right to Gaudreau on the rush for the back-handed rebound. Gaudreau has 12 points in his past 10 games.

With the loss, time is running out for the Flames, who have six games left this season beginning with a contest against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.

“Obviously we’re disappointed in how we didn’t get the job done tonight,” said Tanev. “We can sit here and say this and that, but at the end of the day we lost the game and we weren’t good enough.”

Josh Archibald scored the first empty-netter for Edmonton with 1:06 left in the game. Darnell Nurse added the other 40 seconds later.

McDavid’s race to 100 points for Oilers amplified in shortened season

Centre needs 13 more in final seven games but says team goals most important before playoffs

cut

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Connor McDavid said scoring 100 points in the shortened 2020-21 NHL season remains a possibility with seven games left but is not something he’s concerned about.

The Edmonton Oilers centre has scored 87 points (29 goals, 58 assists) in 49 games and has a 16-point lead on teammate Leon Draisaitl in the race for the Art Ross Trophy as the leading scorer in the NHL, an award he won twice in his first five seasons (2016-17, 2017-18). He is on pace to finish with 99 after scoring three points in a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

“Personally, I want to continue to play good hockey, our group wants to continue to play good hockey,” McDavid said Saturday. “We want to go into the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs on a good note. Personally, it’s a number. Obviously, it’d be kind of different to be able to do it in a shortened season, but I’m not going to change anything. I’m just going to keep playing my game, and if I get there, I get there. And if not, whatever.”

The 2020-21 NHL regular season was reduced to 56 games and began in January because the 2020 Stanley Cup Final ended Sept. 28 after last season was paused due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

McDavid scored 97 points (34 goals, 63 assists) in 64 games last season, 13 behind Draisaitl for the NHL lead. Draisaitl played seven more games.

Edmonton (30-17-2) is second in the Scotia North Division, nine points behind the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs and five points ahead of the third-place Winnipeg Jets. The top four teams in the division qualify for the postseason; the Maple Leafs have clinched.

McDavid’s opening PPG

  • 00:46 • May 1st, 2021

 

It has been 25 years since a player scored at least 100 points through the first 56 games of a season. Mario Lemieux (116) and Jaromir Jagr (104) of the Pittsburgh Penguins each did it in 1995-96. It has happened 29 times in NHL history.

Scoring 100 points in 56 games is a pace of 1.79 points per game. McDavid is at 1.78 points per game through 49 games and would need 13 points in Edmonton’s seven remaining games (1.86 points per game) to reach 100.

The Oilers visit the Vancouver Canucks on Monday (10 p.m. ET; SNP, SNW, NHL.TV) for the first of five remaining games against them. McDavid has scored eight points (five goals, three assists) in five games against Vancouver this season (1.60 per game). Edmonton’s other two games are against the Montreal Canadiens, and McDavid has scored eight points (two goals, six assists) in seven games against them (1.14 per game).

McDavid’s points-per-game average has risen each season since he averaged 1.07 as a rookie in 2015-16. He scored 1.22 points per game in 2016-17, 1.32 in 2017-18, 1.49 in 2018-19 and 1.52 last season; he would finish at 1.55 per game this season without scoring a point in the final seven games.

McDavid seems to be rising to the challenge of reaching 100 points. The 24-year-old has scored 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in his past seven games, an average of 2.57 points per game.

“If he does that, we should have a fairly good chance to win some games here in the last few (weeks),” Oilers goalie Mike Smith said. “Nothing ceases to amaze me with this kid. It’s incredible how he continues to get better and better and the harder it gets, it seems like when he gets shut down one game, the next game he’s that much more hungry to get out there and help the team win.

“It says a lot about the maturity of him as a person and everybody knows how incredible he is on the ice, but I’ve seen a young man grow into a leader on this hockey club. Obviously, a huge part of why we’ve had success this year. So impressive to watch a young guy like that take this team on his shoulders and to do what he’s done this year is an incredible feat.”

There have been 11 games this season when McDavid didn’t score a point. In the 11 games following those, he has scored 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists). He has been held without a point in consecutive games once, a three-game stretch against the Maple Leafs from Feb. 27-March 3.

McDavid was held without a point when Edmonton lost 3-1 to Calgary on Thursday but followed that up with a goal and two assists Saturday.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “We know how special a player he is, but to be able to do it every night is another story. He does it in practice every day too, so we do get a taste of it. But obviously he’s having a special season and he’s a pretty spectacular player.”

8 things to remember from Connor McDavid’s unforgettable season

Kyle Cantlon Yahoo

I believe as a society we’ve moved well beyond the point of even questioning who this year’s NHL MVP will be.

In what can only be considered the lock of all locks — which is really saying something considering the monster year Toronto Maple Leafs sniper Auston Matthews is having himself — Connor McDavid is undoubtedly about to add a second Hart Trophy to his bank lobby-ass mantle. Dude is SEVENTEEN points ahead of his own teammate in the Art Ross Trophy race and 10 assists up on Patrick Kane for the NHL lead, so that baby was a lock about six weeks ago.

It’s completely and utterly outrageous what this hockey playing cyborg is doing this year as far as pulling away with major individual awards so easily, so early, so convincingly — and seemingly so effortlessly. McDavid will no doubt earn an Alberta Man-sized truck full of hardware for his efforts this season, but No. 97 has also produced an entire careers worth of solo highlights while posting and chasing some egregious numbers from all-time greats who feasted on the half-bagged goalies of the ’80s and early ’90s.

A rare eye-test savant who’s also a number cruncher’s wet dream, McDavid has drawn a “best player on Earth” consensus from nearly 100 percent of people across all areas of the game, uniting nerds and meatheads in a way I truly never thought was possible.

With eight contests remaining in the Oilers’ shortened regular-season schedule, here’s eight things to remember — and a few to keep an eye on — from his absurd season as he chases some ridiculous numbers down the stretch.

Connor McDavid's mind-bending marker versus the Canadiens was one of like 8,000 absurd solo highlights produced by No. 97 this season. (Getty)

Connor McDavid’s mind-bending marker versus the Canadiens was one of like 8,000 absurd solo highlights produced by No. 97 this season. (Getty)

Early-age award dominance

Once the 24-year-old adds this year’s MVP notch to his belt officially, McDavid will become just the 19th player in NHL history to win two Hart Trophies, and most impressively just the fourth ever to win multiple MVPs before turning 25, joining Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky and Alex Ovechkin on the exclusive list.

With the Art Ross Trophy coming his way at year’s end as well, McJesus will become just the ninth skater ever to win the league’s scoring crown three times and just the third after Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky to win three Art Ross Trophies by the age of 25. Remarkable stuff.

Chasing 100 in 56

A mind-blowing number McDavid has been chasing all season is 100 points — “100 in 56” if you will. The 100-point plateau is a rare, ridiculous mark that so many of the game’s greatest offensive players never even sniff, and this cat has a realistic shot of hitting triple-digit points in under 60 games.

McDavid needs 16 points over his final 8 contests to hit the mark after averaging 1.75 points per game this season. Two points per game down the stretch does seem like an obnoxious ask for anybody, but having already posted 28 multi-point contests this season including multiple three- and four-point outings, McDavid looks as primed as possible to hit a hundy.

Best points-per-game mark in two decades

The reason McDavid is flirting with so many mind-bending feats, records and numbers this season can be attributed to his torrid points-per-game pace.

The aforementioned 1.75 point-per-game clip that McDavid is boasting this season is the best since Mario Lemieux’s 1.77 mark in 2000-01, and well ahead of the 1.56 and 1.52 marks that Nikita Kucherov and Sidney Crosby put up during their quasi-recent record-setting seasons in 2019 and 2007, respectively.

Era-adjusted greatness:

Sticking with the theme, Lemieux and Gretzky are the only two players in league history to post better seasons when adjusting for era than the one McDavid is having himself right now. Just next-level, rockstar shit.

Putting entire franchises into the ground:

It’s hard to ever remember one player single-handedly bodying an entire city and organisation as constantly and ruthlessly as No. 97 has done to the poor Winnipeg Jets all season long.

With seven goals and 20 points in 9 contests versus Winnipeg this season (with the Oilers going 7-2 on the season against their likely first-round playoff opponent), McDavid simply built on his previous seasons of ruthlessly bullying the Jets. No player has slayed the Jets quite like Gretzky did over his career (2.57 PPG) but McDavid’s current 1.78 pace has him sitting in a comfortable second place among all-time Winnipeg destroyers.

Piling up assists at an unhealthy rate:

Despite sitting second league-wide in goals behind the scorching hot Matthews, we know that McDavid’s bread and butter is the set-up game, and he’s unsurprisingly been on a whole other level in that area, too.

With 56 helpers in 48 contests so far, McDavid leads the NHL’s apple race by double digits over Kane, and his current clip of 1.16 assists per game would give him the third-best season by that metric since 2000 while putting him in some more ridiculous company.

The Oilers are an even-strength doormat without him:

A lot of stats need context, but some simply don’t. I’ll just leave this one here for you to draw your own conclusions.

Most ‘wow’ moments per 60 in a single season (Unofficial):

This is very much an unofficial and completely made up stat, but McDavid has to unofficially lead the NHL in “wow moments” per game, by a long shot.

From absolutely carving up the Maple Leafs en route to this absurd tally, to doing pretty much the exact same thing against the Canadiens, to destroying everyone in a Jets sweater on his way to another all-timer, the jaw dropping, mind-bending moments just never seem to end, and they’ve been extra plentiful this season, it seems.

Oh and let’s leave all this speculative, unsubstantiated “he plays in the worst division in the league” chatter alone right now, as it’s not like he’d had a problem just massacring the rest of the NHL whenever he’s had the opportunities in the past.