Connor McDavid lights up Jets, Blues look playoff bound, Habs get big win, and more NHL action
Connor McDavid’s march to 100 points just got a huge boost last night. With Wayne Gretzky closely monitoring and cheering him on, the league’s leading scorer added four points to his stat sheet, including a hat-trick.
“His year, this year, has been just superb,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “There’s very few people that you see who can dominate a game like he can, and he does it in a lot of different aspects of the game. His speed is unbelievable, but his hands and his thinking are at another level also. He’s a driver on our team.”NHL.com
McDavid hits 81 points with 10 games to play
This contest was wrapped up by the end of the second period with the Oilers scoring two in the first and four in the middle stanza. Edmonton’s 6-1 romp of the hurting Winnipeg Jets, who lost Nikolaj Ehlers earlier in the day leapfrogs them into second place in the North.
The focus is rightfully so on McDavid’s quest for 100 points in 56 games. With 81 points in 46 games, it is hard to believe he won’t get it done. He will need to average just about 2 points per game the rest of the way to accomplish the feat.
“It’s good for our confidence,” McDavid said choosing to emphasize the team win rather his outstanding play. “We’re obviously jostling for position and kind of leaning that way that we might play them, so we want to finish ahead of them and have home-ice advantage. We’ll see what happens moving forward.”
Canadiens get a big win to distance the Flames
The Montreal Canadiens recorded a big 2-1 win in the third and final game of their series with the Calgary Flames. The win gives the Habs breathing room again with six points and one game in hand over the Flames who lost Noah Hanifin for the season.
Captain Shea Weber opened the scoring on the power play for Montreal, but it was free agent signing Tyler Toffoli who broke the tie with his 25th on the season. Jake Allen, another offseason acquisition made 21 saves to nail down the win as Carey Price is out due to a concussion.
In other North action, the Senators knocked off the Canucks 2-1. That should put an end to any thoughts of Vancouver making the playoffs. They are 10 points behind the Habs.
Blues jump into playoff spot out West
The San Jose Sharks beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-4 presenting the St. Louis Blues with an opportunity to grab 4th place. The Blues were facing Stanley Cup favorite Colorado Avalanche and didn’t waste it. Red-hot Ryan O’Reilly picked up two assists and his sixth point in the last two contests to lead his team to a 4-1 win over the Avs. With the victory, St. Louis now holds the last playoff spot in the West by a one point and a game in hand.
In other West action, the Kings topped the Ducks 4-1. Anaheim is tied with the NJ Devils at 35 points for the second worst totals in the NHL. The Sabres are the worst team with just 33 points.
Central Division races best in the league
The Carolina Hurricanes have clinched a playoff spot by picking up one point in a 4-3 OT loss to the Dallas Stars. They are the 4th team to accomplish the feat and this is also their third consecutive playoff appearance. Meanwhile the Florida Panthers had a huge opportunity to tie the Canes for first but fell to the Predators 4-1. Carolina’s hold on first place is at two points over Florida and three over Tampa.
Nashville remains two points up on the Stars to hold fourth place, but Dallas has two games in hand. The Blackhawks are six points back and also have two games in hand, but it is unlikely they leapfrog both teams to earn a playoff berth.