The Edmonton Oilers clinched their playoff berth with a win against Vancouver on Monday night and things are looking pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Connor McDavid had four points as his club overtook the Canucks by a final score of 5-3. The forward now leads the NHL in scoring with 91 points in 50 games, becoming the third player in league history to amass 30 goals and 60 assists in 50 or fewer games. Wayne Gretzky accomplished the feat nine times and Mario Lemieux did it five times.
“I’m trying to play the best that I can and make sure my game is where it needs to be heading into the playoffs,” McDavid said. “It’s a number. If I get [100 points], great, if not, it’s not the end of the world either. The most important thing is making sure our team is gearing up for the playoffs and [firing] on all cylinders when we get there.”
Jesse Puljujarvi had a goal and an assist in the win, while Tyson Barrie and Dominik Kahun also scored for the Oilers.
Nate Schmidt, J.T. Miller, and Brock Boeser had the Vancouver goals.
That the Oilers are in the post-season this time around is no real surprise given how well this team has been playing, but the fact remains that this marks just their second playoff berth in the last 14 campaigns and the second since McDavid joined the roster.
Last year, ahead of the March pause, Edmonton lost in the Qualifying Round and did not make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With that bitter taste, the Oilers took to this campaign with a different spirit and a unique outlook. It’s paid off famously, with points piling up and the club tightening up where it matters. Edmonton is ninth in both goals for per game and goals against per game, plus they possess the fourth-best save percentage in the NHL.
After a dismal 3-6 start that many thought would set the tone for the season, the Oilers improved to 28-11-2 and are now among the most dominant organizations in the NHL.
Edmonton will challenge the Canucks again Tuesday, playing the second of four straight against Vancouver. They’re eight points behind Toronto for the division lead with two games in hand and seven points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens.
Vancouver is dead last in the division with 41 points in 46 games. They’ve played five fewer games than the Jets and Habs.