One man doesn’t make a team. Nor do two or three, but you wouldn’t know it tonight. That’s not to diminish good performances by the likes of Zack Kassian, or the Nurse-Bear pairing. But, Connor McDavid showed why he’s the best player in the world tonight. Draisaitl showed why he’s not that far behind, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had another multi-goal game.
The Oilers struck early and often. Following an early goal by Andre Burakovsky, Nugent-Hopkins tied it up a little over six minutes in. Nuge’s goal was followed by a powerplay marker by McDavid, then a Kassian goal, then another by the captain.
By the end of the first period, the game was already starting to look like a laugher. It was 4-1 and McDavid had recorded a point on all four goals.
The piling on continued in the second. McDavid completed his hattrick before the game was officially half over. And, after another Burakovsky marker for the Avs, Nugent-Hopkins made it 6-2, the eventual final score, before the second Zamboni flood. McDavid and Draisaitl picked up the helpers on this goal, for their sixth and fifth points of the night, respectively.
Tonight was only the second time that an Oilers player scored at least six points in a game since 1990. With the other instance, of course, being Sam Gagner’s eight point game in 2012. It was also McDavid’s fourth career game with at least five points, and Draisaitl’s first in the regular season. Although he has, of course, also accomplished that feat in the playoffs, when he had a hattrick and two assists in game 6 of the 2017 playoffs, against the Ducks.
Draisaitl’s five assists are the most any Oiler has had in a game, since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had five in his rookie year. Prior to that, the last Oiler to record five assists in a game was Wayne Gretzky, who accomplished the feat twice in a span of three games, in March 1988.
Draisaitl now leads the league in scoring, and assists, with 41 points, and 26 helpers, in just 21 games. After his big night, McDavid now ranks second league-wide in both categories, with 37 points and 23 assists. No other NHL player has more than 31 points (Boston’s David Pastrnak).
Oilers have finished first and second in league scoring three times before:
1983-84 (Gretzky, Coffey)
1984-85 (Gretzky, Kurri)
1986-87 (Gretzky, Kurri)
Can McDavid and Draisaitl do it for a fourth time? It’s too early to tell, of course, but with a couple more nights like tonight, it would be no contest.
The Oilers will be back at it on Saturday afternoon, when they take on Dallas, at Rogers Place. Puck drop is 2pm (or shortly thereafter).