The Edmonton Oilers were in for a rough-and-tumble Pacific Division matchup in what was to be a semi-important game against the Anaheim Ducks. If the Ducks won, Anaheim would move to 21 points, three outside the Pacific Division lead. If not, Edmonton would be able to add to its lead with 26 points, which would put them ahead of second-place Calgary by five points.
En route to a 6-2 victory, Connor McDavid recorded a hat trick — as well as a goal-of-the-year candidate —while Leon Draisaitl added three assists of his own. The Oilers’ PK was also solid, killing off all five of Anaheim’s power-play opportunities as Edmonton advanced to 12-5-2 on the season, and Mikko Koskinen also impressed 31 saves on 33 shots. The team is also 3-0-1 against divisional teams this season.
Here are three takeaways from the Oilers’ win.
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Connor McDavid joins the 400-club — and records a hat trick
McDavid is no stranger to milestones or high expectations, and he surpassed both with a strong performance on Sunday.
The 22-year-old forward was able to score on an impressive wheel-and-deal goal — he turned on the jets and fired a quick shot past Gibson to regain the Oilers’ first-period lead, making the score 2-1. McDavid’s tally was his 400th career point.
With 137 goals and 263 assists, McDavid is just the seventh player in the league history to reach 400 career points before his 23rd birthday and the 13th-fastest to hit the mark (306 games).
But wait — there’s more. McDavid wasn’t finished, and in the third period, the Richmond Hill, Ont. native netted a highlight-reel tally and a power-play goal for his fifth career hat trick.
He also extended his point streak to four games and has a point in eight of his last nine matchups, as well as 11 goals and 30 points on the season, which ties him with David Pastrnak for second in NHL scoring.
Nuge comes up huge
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been improving his game of late. Although he already had 11 points in 18 games coming into Sunday’s matchup, he hadn’t scored a goal in 11 games. He put an end to that drought on Sunday — and in style.
Just 1:28 into the game, Nugent-Hopkins picked up a loose puck behind the net that had trickled down the ice into the offensive zone, collected it then fired it past John Gibson to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead. It was his second goal of the season and would also mark his second-consecutive game with a point, as well as his fifth multi-point game of the season.
He did it all again in the second period, too. With Edmonton on the power play, Nugent-Hopkins displayed great patience and vision as he fired a clean, on-target shot that went top-shelf, left-corner to make it 3-1 for the Oilers with his second goal of the game.
The 26-year-old also displayed great speed and patience with the puck and was able to generate a number of scoring chances. Nugent-Hopkins now has six points in his last six games — three of those being multi-point performances — and is on pace for 56 points, which would mark his second-consecutive 50-plus point season after he finished with 69 points last year.
Leon Draisaitl reclaims NHL scoring lead
Yep, Draisaitl was Draisaitl on Sunday.
As is most commonly the case, the German winger connected with McDavid for a goal and notched a primary assist on the play. In the second period, he had yet another helper. With that, he extended his point streak to nine games — and more importantly took the league lead in scoring with 31 points in 19 games to kick off 2019-20.
He wasn’t done there; he added another assist, finding Nugent-Hopkins in the slot for his second goal of the season, while also assisting on a highlight-reel tally from Connor McDavid and his hat-trick goal minutes later for four assists on the evening.
Draisaitl now leads with 34 points on the year.
The 24-year-old was previously tied with David Pastrnak heading into Sunday. Pastrnak did not record a point in the Bruins’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, and Draisaitl was able to jump into first for the time being. He’s now on pace to finish the season with 155 points. You read that right — 155 points. No player has managed over 150 points in a season since Mario Lemieux recorded 161 in 1995-96.
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