Add this to all of the other things that have been said about Connor McDavid: He has a superstar’s flair for the dramatic.
A week after electrifying the hockey world with a highlight-reel goal in his first game in three months, the Edmonton Oilers’ 19-year-old put in another jaw-dropping performance Thursday night.
McDavid recorded his first five-point game as a professional while leading the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-2 victory over the Maple Leafs, the team he rooted for as a kid while growing up in the suburbs of Toronto.
The rookie scored two goals and set up three others against the Leafs. He now has 12 points in six games since returning from a broken collarbone on Feb. 2.
He deferred when given a chance to score a third goal in the last minute, flipping a pass instead to Jordan Eberle so his linemate could record the first hat trick of his career.
“I fully expected him to shoot it,” Eberle said. “Then he made a totally unselfish play and passed it forward to me.”
McDavid tossed a souvenir puck over the glass and stopped to sign autographs as he headed down the tunnel toward the dressing room after the game. Fans in Edmonton love him, and he loves them right back.
Last night, he and his linemates combined for 13 points, and now have 32 in six games. Benoît Pouliot had four assists against the Leafs, and Eberle added an assist to go along with his three goals. He had scored two goals 17 times over six seasons in the NHL, but never three.
“It was more of a play that just happened,” McDavid said. “I thought Jordan was in a little better position than me.
“Before we went out there for our last shift, we had been talking on the bench about who might get the hat trick.”
McDavid torched the Leafs three and a half minutes into the game, skating through all five players before tucking the puck by the defenceless Jonathan Bernier. On one of Eberle’s other goals, McDavid found his teammate near the side of the net from across the ice.
Eberle had three goals in the 18 games preceding McDavid’s return. He has seven in the six games since McDavid came back.
“What can you say about Connor?” Todd McLellan, the Oilers’ coach, said. “His performance did all of the speaking. You watch him, and turn into a fan as coaches and players.
“All three of them had a tremendous night. Thank goodness, because we didn’t get much from anybody else.”
Only two other Oilers made the score sheet, with the defencemen Anrej Sekera and Mark Fayne each earning assists. Cam Talbot had 34 saves and was unlucky on one of the Leafs’ goals – it pinballed off skates and sticks before trickling into the net.
Edmonton’s next game, the second of six in a row at home, is Saturday night against the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers are mathematically alive in the race for the playoffs, though it is a far-fetched dream.
McDavid has now scored 24 points and is tied for tenth in scoring among rookies despite missing 37 games. He was injured on Nov. 3 when he fell awkwardly while skating at full speed and crashed into the boards against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Neither he nor anyone else was sure what would happen when he came back. If anything, he is playing better than he was after being named the league’s top rookie in October.
“Any time you have a good game like this, it’s good for your confidence,” he said.
That might not be good news for everyone else.Report Typo/Error
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