It’s not yet officially a lost season for the Oilers, sexy preseason Cup picks who find themselves far out of a playoff spot, but it’s been a disaster so far. Meanwhile the Lightning have been the only consistently great team this year in a league packed with mediocrity. So what happened on Monday when Tampa came to Edmonton? Connor McDavid happened.
McDavid had four goals and added an assist in the Oilers’ 6-2 win, and with one incredible night he’s right back in the running to win his second consecutive MVP. He credited a quality afternoon nap for his big game, and there was nothing Tampa could do to stop him:
“It seems like he is from another planet,” said Leon Draisaitl. “It is not fair, really.”
Not an alien, just a 21-year-old who, with eight points in his last three games, can smell another Art Ross. McDavid now has 21 goals and 40 assists through 51 games, putting another 100-point season in sight. He’s now tied for third in the league with Nathan MacKinnon, trailing only Nikita Kucherov (66) and Phil Kessel (63).
McDavid scored on a power play, and set up Draisaitl on another, welcome developments for a team that’s inexplicably 31st in the NHL on the power play this year. (And 31st on the penalty kill. Now you’re getting an idea of why they’re struggling.) But time is starting to run out on the season. Even with the win, Edmonton is sixth in the Pacific, 11 points back of both the third-place Kings, and of the Wild for the second wild-card spot.
The Lightning? They’ll be fine. They’re still in the driver’s seat for the Presidents’ Trophy, though red-hot Boston is now just five points back with three games in hand.
Now let’s all agree to really really enjoy the NHL the next few weeks, and try to convince ourselves it’s a fine consolation for not having NHLers in the Olympics.