Coming into last night’s action, Connor McDavid needed a 1.9 points per game average to hit 100 for the season. A monumental feat for any NHL player, but not a problem for #97. The Oilers captain picked up three assists to raise his totals to 84 points on the season with nine games left to play.
Connor McDavid: The chase for 100 points
The Oilers captain led the charge offensively last night against the Winnipeg Jets picking up helpers on all of Edmonton’s goals in the 3-1 win. McDavid now needs 16 points to reach the century mark in just 56 games this season. He lowered his needed points per game pace to 1.77; dropping it down .13 heading into the game yesterday.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who scored the game winner. “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.”
Edmonton now has a three point lead over the Jets for second place in the division. McDavid is right back at it again tonight as the Battle of Alberta resumes against the Flames in Oil Country.
Maple Leafs first team to clinch in North
The Toronto Maple Leafs came at the Montreal Canadiens fast and early to an eventual 4-1 win. Auston Matthews scored an absolute dazzling goal for his league leading 35 of this short season. He leads the Rocket Richard race by 7 goals over McDavid.
“We’re playing with a couple of living legends,” Matthews said. “It’s pretty awesome at this stage in their career how passionate they are about the team, about winning, about performing every night. … It’s been awesome to have [Spezza] here for the second year and play with a guy like ‘Jumbo,’ two guys that have a lot of history in this game. To witness them accomplish what they’ve accomplished, obviously, tonight was a big night for both of them.”NHL.com
Jack Campbell made 32 stop to secure the Leafs playoff berth and Joe Thornton picked up career assist 1100. Also any thoughts of the Canucks making the playoffs were extinguished as they fell to the Senators 6-3.
Here come the Blues
The St. Louis Blues rallied for a big win against the Minnesota Wild 4-3. Mike Hoffman who was on the trade block at the deadline scored twice and picked up the assist on the game winning goal with 23 seconds left on the clock. Coupled with the Coyotes losing 4-2 to the Sharks, St. Louis now holds the last playoff spot in the West by three points and three games in hand.
“Yeah, even going into the intermission we were talking as a group, we’ve come back from plenty of games this year, why not do it again,” Hoffman said after rallying from 3-1 down in the third. “We never gave up, stuck with it. It’s a game of momentum and I thought we had it the majority of the third. It was a good comeback win tonight.”
Meanwhile, Quintin Byfield made his NHL debut for the Kings and played over 17 minutes. L.A. did eventually fall 3-2 to the Ducks but for the #2 overall pick in the 2020 draft it was a great memory.
“I knew I had a lot of support behind me tonight, just wanted to go into the game with confidence,” Byfield said. “You try to step up your game and bury all your chances. It was a lot of fun having fans in there and when you make a play or do something, make a good play or make a good pass, get a shot, the fans, you could hear them and it definitely gave me confidence out there.”NHL.com
Finally, the Golden Knights took it to the Avalanche by a 5-2 score. It seems like a role reversal as it’s the Knights who are hot with 10 wins in a row and the Avalanche just dropped their third straight. Vegas now leads by 6 points in the battle for first in the West.