Connor McDavid takes over NHL scoring lead as Edmonton Oilers edge L.A. Kings
The two point night gives McDavid 96 points on the season and moved him one point ahead of Tampa Bay’s Nikitia Kucherov for the NHL scoring lead.
“Honestly, I’m just going to put repeat on, it’s important to come down the stretch solid as a team and I think individually guys want to feel good heading into the summer and build a little bit of steam heading into next year,” said McDavid when asked if winning the scoring race is important to him.
“We pay attention to it, I mean guys that are in the race I’m sure are paying attention to it,” added McDavid. “You know we’re so far along in the year now and everyone’s come so far now so you might as well put your best foot forward and go for it.”
It took the Oilers just 45 seconds to take the lead. Pontus Aberg found a loose puck at the side of the net and tucked it behind Jonathan Quick. Kings head coach John Stevens felt there should have been an icing call prior to the goal.
“One hundred percent. The one guy had it icing, the other guy waved it off and I think Dion going back for the puck had let up a little bit,” said Stevens. “But at the end of the day you play hockey, right? You don’t get the whistle, you play it out. It’s unfortunate. I think the puck squirted out to Aberg right as Quick looked the other way. We had a guy with in the proximity there, but we could have done more to prevent the goal, outside of what call is made on the ice.”
Later in the first, Adam Larsson fired a cross ice pass to McDavid. McDavid’s first jab hit the side of the net, but he recovered the loose puck to jam in his 37th of the season.
It was Larsson’s 100th career point. The Kings scored 28 seconds later on a goal from Jake Muzzin to cut the Oilers lead to 2-1.
McDavid struck again 4:08 into the second period, converting a breakaway by sliding a shot five-hole on Quick. However, the Kings controlled the rest of the period and got a goal from Jeff Carter to trail 3-2 after two.
The Oilers had two power plays early in the third, but couldn’t extend their lead. In fact, Cam Talbot had to stop Nate Thompson on a shorthanded breakaway to preserve the advantage.
The Kings created a goal mouth scramble just before the final horn, but couldn’t muscle it by Talbot, who finished with 27 saves.
“We’ve played hard, well and committed for a few weeks now and today was a carry over,” said head coach Todd McLellan. “It wasn’t a perfect game, but these games are hard to play when teams are scrambling for playoff points and for as hard as that team checks I thought we put a pretty good effort in.”
The Oilers, 34-36-5, will host Anaheim on Sunday.
With files from Brenden Ullrich and Scott Johnston
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