Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has done well playing in the shadows of star captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in his career, but the rest of the NHL is increasingly aware of him this season.
Nugent-Hopkins will take the ice for the first time as a 100-point scorer when the Oilers visit the San Jose Sharks on Saturday afternoon
Nugent-Hopkins, a former No. 1 overall draft pick in 2011, hit that milestone with an assist on an empty-net goal by Zach Hyman in the final minutes of a 3-1 win at the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
By joining McDavid and Draisaitl in the 100-point club this season, Nugent-Hopkins has made the Oilers the first NHL team since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins to have three players with at least 100 points in the same season
"Getting 100 points is so special," Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. "He flies a little bit under the radar because we have some other special players here as well. But you know what, he's certainly appreciated by his coaching staff and his teammates because, you know, he's a winner
"He does a lot of little things that go into team wins and we are lucky we have him on our team."
The trio of McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins have powered the playoff-bound Oilers (47-23-9, 103 points) on their current 12-game point streak (11-0-1)
They are the highest-scoring team in the league (312 goals on the season, 3.94 per game) and have leapfrogged the Los Angeles Kings into second place in the Pacific Division, pulling to three points behind the equally hot Vegas Golden Knights.
McDavid enters the game riding a 13-game point streak (eight goals, 16 assists).
"If you want to have a chance against that team, you have to not let those guys beat you," Ducks forward Troy Terry said.
As good as Edmonton has been on offense, the Oilers have been just as stingy on the defensive end recently, surrendering just two goals over the past four games
The Sharks (22-40-16, 60 points) will miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, but they've done a decent job playing spoiler in recent games. They beat the Winnipeg Jets on March 28, the Golden Knights on March 30 and forced the Colorado Avalanche into overtime on Tuesday before losing 4-3
Defenseman Erik Karlsson continues to have the most productive season by an NHL blueliner in more than 30 seasons. He's just two points from becoming the first defenseman to score 100 points since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers in 1991-92.
On a different scale, Sharks forward Steven Lorentz scored his ninth goal of the season Tuesday. Approaching double figures in goals was never an expectation for Lorentz, a seventh-round pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2015 NHL Draft, but he's not surprising his coaches and teammates any longer
"He's really understanding what he's going to need to do to be an everyday player in this league," San Jose coach David Quinn said. "His last few weeks have been the best hockey he's played all year long. I think he's really dialed to what he needs to do. He looks confident and comfortable with accepting what he is and he's productive offensively."
--Field Level Media