NHL Hockey

4
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Edmonton 0 3 1 4
Vancouver 1 0 0 1
1
7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ET23:00 BRT, May 4, 2021
Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia  Attendance: 0

Connor McDavid putting Oilers playoff prep ahead of 100-point chase

Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks

  1. The Oilers have a .640 points percentage in 2020-21 -- this would be the highest for the club in any season in which Wayne Gretzky was not on the roster. It is currently the seventh highest in team history, topped by each season between 1981-82 and 1986-87.
  2. Edmonton ranks fifth in the NHL in save percentage at .913, the fourth-highest mark in club history. In the last 35 years, only once have the Oilers finished a season in the top five in save percentage: the 2001-02 club ranked fourth at .914. Tommy Salo was the team's primary netminder.
  3. Connor McDavid has 91 points in 50 games, a rate of 1.82 points per game. Using a 50-game minimum, this figure ranks 25th in league history and is the highest for any player since 1995-96 (Mario Lemieux -- 2.30). In NHL history, the fewest games played in a season by a 100-point scorer is 59 by Lemieux in 1989-90 -- 123 points in 59 games. The Oilers have six games remaining on their schedule.
  4. After being idle for almost four weeks due to COVID-19, the Canucks won three of their first four games -- but have since dropped five straight, all in regulation. In the five losses, Vancouver has been outscored by a 22-9 margin.
  5. Overall this season, Vancouver is 1-for-16 on the power play against the Oilers, a rate of 6.3 percent -- that's the third lowest for the Canucks in any season against Edmonton since the Oilers joined the league in 1979-80.
  6. Brock Boeser has played in 243 games in his career and has 199 points. Among players who debuted with the Canucks and recorded their first 200 points in a Vancouver uniform, only four reached that plateau in fewer than 245 games: Pavel Bure (174 games), Patrik Sundstrom (216), Stan Smyl (239) and Thomas Gradin (241).

Connor McDavid's chase for a 100-point season amidst a truncated 56-game campaign has caught attention around the NHL. The Edmonton Oilers superstar and league's scoring leader has 91 points and six games remaining to reach the century mark heading into Tuesday's road clash with the Vancouver Canucks.

However, McDavid, who netted two goals and four points in Monday's 5-3 win over the Canucks, is more focused on the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs, which his club officially qualified for in the first of four straight games against the Canucks.

"I'm trying to play the best I can and make sure my game is where it needs to be heading into playoffs," McDavid said. "It's a number. If I get there, great. If not, it's not the end of the world either. The most important thing is our team is gearing up for playoffs and making sure we're on all cylinders in game one."

McDavid, who has collected 20 points in the last seven games, has a solid reason for looking ahead. The Oilers (31-17-2, 64 points) may have won four of five games and have an outside shot of catching the Toronto Maple Leafs for top spot in the North Division, but they remember their inglorious ousting by the Chicago Blackhawks in the play-in round of last year's Stanley Cup tournament.

"Everyone left the bubble in a bad mood," McDavid said. "No one felt great about where we were at, how that series went. I think it was a good moment for us to step back and learn from it, learn what it takes to win. I think everyone's done a great job of buying in this year, believing."

Thus, we've seen a more business-like focus among the youthful Oilers, even after clinching a playoff spot.

"It's the first step, right, so we've given ourselves a chance at it now," defenseman Tyson Barrie said. "It's nice to get that 'X' next to your name, get that out of the way, and now we've got a shot to win the Stanley Cup. That's the goal at the beginning of the year and we've done a good job accomplishing that. Great to get that done, but a lot of work to be done still."

The Canucks (19-24-3, 41 points) are nearly out of chances to keep their playoff hopes alive. A five-game losing skid in which they've scored only nine goals has them on the verge of being eliminated.

When the Canucks returned from a nearly three-week hiatus due to a COVID-19 outbreak that affected nearly everyone, expectations were it would be tough to find a playoff spot, but they've fallen off a cliff.

That said, nobody can accuse the Canucks of quitting. They pushed for a comeback against the high-octane Oilers and even made it a one-goal game before a McDavid empty-netter sealed the deal.

"Our guys worked and competed," coach Travis Green said. "It's a tough loss and obviously their big line was a factor. We made a couple of mistakes on a couple of goals and they made us pay. We tried to push at the end."

The Canucks have 10 games remaining and must win them all plus get help to make the playoffs. It looks like they'll go down swinging.

"I don't think effort is our issue. We work hard every game," forward J.T. Miller added. "We've had the injury problem lately and a lot of new faces, but for me that's no excuse. We want to win. We're not playing bad, but we've got to do more against these teams that are playoff ready. These games are hard and we take a lot of pride competing in them."

--Field Level Media

Updated May 4, 2021

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