Connor McDavid scored twice, including his 60th of the season, as the Edmonton Oilers outlasted the Arizona Coyotes for a 4-3 overtime win Wednesday night at Rogers Place.
McDavid became the fourth active player to record 60 goals in a season. He joins Alex Ovechkin (65 in 2007-08), Auston Matthews (60 in 2021-22) and Steven Stamkos (60 in 2011-12).
“I felt like I was kind of pressing for the 60th all night,” McDavid said after scoring his 59th early on.
Reaching 60 goals in 72 games makes McDavid the fastest player to reach the mark since Mario Lemieux accomplished the feat in 62 games in the 1995-96 season.
“Sixty goals in that short a timespan is amazing, but I keep going back to the fact that what drives him is team success,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said.
“He’d be most happy not with his two points, but the team’s two points tonight on a non-perfect evening.”
“(It was a) big game for us,” McDavid said. “Two opponents this week that don’t have much to lose and are playing really well, and I thought we did a good job hanging in there and finding a way to get two points.
“That’s what this time of year is all about — keeping ourselves in the thick of the race.”
The Oilers captain opened the scoring with a nifty goal on the power play. He was taking the puck behind the net then flicked the puck in off the back of Arizona goalie Connor Ingram.
“That was where I was aiming,” McDavid said. “I’ve done it a couple times. Everybody is so worried about (Draisaitl) on the back side there that even the goalie can get caught trying to block that backside pass.”
It was McDavid’s 59th of the season. The Coyotes replied with a power play goal of their own by J.J. Moser.
In the second period, Nick Schmaltz stole the puck behind the net and set up Clayton Keller for his 33rd.
The Oilers had most of the pressure in the second and finally pulled even when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored on the power play with 9.6 seconds on the clock.
With 11:06 left in the third, Barrett Hayton set up Keller in front for his second of the night.
It took the Oilers less than four minutes to bounce back. Leon Draisaitl sent a precise stretch pass to Nugent-Hopkins, who roared in and beat Ingram blocker side.
In overtime, McDavid hit the post on a breakaway, then got another chance in alone just ten seconds later. This time he roofed a shot over the sprawled out keeper for his 60th.
“Obviously he’s going to downplay it, but it’s pretty hard to score in this league and to score 60 in a season and still have 10 games to go is pretty remarkable,” Draisaitl said.
Draisaitl had four assists.
McDavid joins Wayne Gretzky (five times) and Jari Kurri (two times) as the only players in Oilers franchise history with 60 or more goals in a single season.
“What we’re seeing is unbelievable, but the way he goes about it, it’s very impressive to see from my vantage point,” Woodcroft said post-game.
The Oilers, 41-23-8, will host Vegas on Saturday (630 CHED, Face-off Show 6:30 p.m., game at 8 p.m.).