Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers continue to be one of the most productive tandems in NHL history, but they’re performing at an even higher level this spring.
McDavid and Draisaitl will try to continue their sizzling play when the Oilers visit the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
McDavid had a goal and two assists in a 6-1 win at the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night to extend his point streak to 13 games (11 goals, 15 assists), and increase his league-leading point total to 105 (40 goals, 65 assists).
Draisaitl had a goal and an assist against the Ducks to extend his point streak to 12 games (12 goals, 10 assists) and increase his point total to 101 (50 goals, 51 assists), second most in the NHL.
Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said McDavid and Draisaitl are two of the three best players in the league right now.
“I’m not sure there’s another team that can flex their muscles like that,” said Eakins, who coached the Oilers during the 2013-14 season, just before the arrival of McDavid and Draisaitl. “To slow them down, you have to be totally on your game, you have to be swinging in the same weight class as them, and you need to be well rested.”
It’s no surprise that McDavid and Draisaitl’s recent hot streak has translated into overall success for Edmonton.
The Oilers (40-25-5, 85 points) have won four in a row and 10 of 13 to maintain third place in the Pacific Division with 12 games remaining.
“We asserted our game immediately, and certainly as the game went on, we spent more and more time in the offensive zone and were rewarded,” interim coach Jay Woodcroft said after Edmonton used a 3-0 first-period lead to dominate Anaheim.
The Sharks, on the other hand, are playing out their final 14 games with no hope of ending a two-year playoff drought.
San Jose (29-31-8, 66 points) has lost four of its past five games with its only win in that span coming against the Ducks on March 26.
However, the Sharks received some reinforcements in their last game, a 5-4 loss to the visiting Dallas Stars on Saturday.
Mario Ferraro, a defenseman, returned after missing five weeks with a broken leg, and center Jonathan Dahlen came back after missing five games because he was hit in the face with a puck.
“I’m just happy to be back,” Ferraro said. “It’s tough seeing the boys battle and it’s tough sitting out. It went pretty quickly though.”
San Jose coach Bob Boughner will have the difficult decision of whether to give Kaapo Kahkonen another start in goal after he allowed four goals on 14 shots in the first period on Saturday. He was replaced by James Reimer, who allowed one goal over the final two periods.
Kahkonen has made three starts overall since he was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild on March 21, allowing four goals in each outing. San Jose lost all three.
The game will also mark the return of Edmonton forward Evander Kane to San Jose, where he played 3 1/2 seasons before his rocky tenure ended in January.
Kane was suspended by the NHL the first 21 games of this season for lack of compliance with the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols. He was then sent to San Jose’s minor league affiliate when the suspension ended.
He was ultimately waived Jan. 8 and signed with the Oilers on Jan. 27.
Kane has 16 goals and 12 assists in 31 games with Edmonton. He has scored at least 20 goals in each of the past six seasons.
–Field Level Media