With six games left to go in their 2021-22 regular season campaign, the Edmonton Oilers are a lock to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs and will be taking on either the Los Angeles Kings or Vegas Golden Knights in the opening round. This leaves these players one last thing to accomplish before the final game on their schedule...help Connor McDavid reach the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career.
Despite having gone goalless in four straight and pointless in three of those four games, the 25-year old is more than capable of getting there. McDavid currently sits just eight goals shy of 50 and with a perfectly timed three day rest period on the Oilers current dance card, everything seems to be falling into place for another late season charge from no. 97.
His recent cold spell has allowed Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau to close the gap in the league scoring race to just two points, with teammate Leon Draisaitl and the Calgary Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau both within five of top spot. Some may view this is a bad omen but in my mind, it makes it all the more likely that we will see McDavid elevate his game over these next couple of weeks.
A quick look at the Oilers remaining schedule shows them having four games left on home-ice, two on the road and only one back-to-back, which are the final two games of the regular season. Their opponents in those two will be the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks, two teams who will be playing for nothing and wanting nothing more than their seasons to come to an end.
Edmonton’s two road games will be at Columbus to face the Blue Jackets and in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins. McDavid has torched Columbus throughout his career and the head-to-head showdown with Sidney Crosby is always special. While his team hasn’t enjoyed much success against the Pens, the captain has typically fared rather well in this matchup and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Bringing us to the Oilers next two games against the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche, teams who he has traditionally put points on the board against. However this season, they’ve managed to hold McDavid to just three assists over four games and the Stars are in the midst of a fight to the finish for one the two Wild Card spots in the Western Conference.
In my mind, these two will be the key in this entire process. If he can manage to get even a couple of goals between the Dallas and Colorado games, (and he is more than overdue) potting six over the next four wouldn’t exactly be farfetched. Again, we’ve seen this movie before and considering it’s something McDavid wants and the playoffs are right around the corner, the spotlight is there for the taking.
Put it this way, if you’re a betting man or woman, you should feel pretty confident in Connor McDavid covering that bet. In fact, don’t be surprised if he reaches the 50-goal plateau and push the 125-point barrier by season’s end….8 goals and 15 points over his final six games. While talk surrounding who the best player in the world continues to be a thing, the stage is set for him to go out and quite the masses.