McDavid trying for 100-point season, won’t be rested by Oilers

McDavid trying for 100-point season, won't be rested by Oilers thumbnail

Connor McDavid needs seven points in the final five games to score 100 in this 56-game season, and Edmonton Oilers coach Dave Tippett said the center will have every opportunity to reach that number for the fourth time in his NHL career.

“I’m going to play him like normal,” Tippett said Thursday. “He wants to be our leader, we’re talking about getting our team game in order. He’s the leader of that and he wants to keep pushing that way. He knows his responsibility on our team. He just wants to keep playing, if the 100 points happens, it happens. If not, I don’t think it’s a big deal to him.”

The Oilers (32-17-2) are second in the eight-team Scotia North Division, six points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, and have clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“We’ll continue to play him,” Tippett said of the Oilers captain. “He wants to play, he wants to make sure his game is ready for the playoffs. We’ll not overtax him, but we’re not going to abnormally hold him out or hold his minutes way down either. There are parts of the game he wants to work on, there are parts of the game our team needs to work on. He’s a big part of that and he’ll play accordingly.”

Video: CGY@EDM: McDavid races in and scores PPG for 1-0 lead

McDavid leads the NHL with 93 points (31 goals, 62 assists) heading into the Oilers game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN, NHL.TV).

He is 18 points ahead of the No. 2 scorer, teammate Leon Draisaitl, who has scored 75 points (26 goals, 49 assists). McDavid has scored at least two points in eight of his past nine games and has 16 games with at least three points this season.

“For us to be able to help him get 100, we’ll do everything we can,” Oilers forward Josh Archibald said Thursday. “It’s a pretty incredible feat for him, but as a person and as a player, he’s more worried about helping us and helping the team win. The points are just something that comes along with it.”

He would become the first player in 25 years, and 30th in NHL history, to score at least 100 points through the first 56 games of a season. Mario Lemieux (116) and Jaromir Jagr (104) of the Pittsburgh Penguins each did it in 1995-96.

“We would like to help him as much as we can,” Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson said. “I know he’s pretty close. I think it would be a cool milestone for him to reach 100 on a season like this, so we will do our best to help him out here.”

The No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid has scored 562 points (193 goals, 369 assists) in 402 regular-season games. He has scored at least 30 goals and 93 points in each of his past five NHL seasons, has finished first or second in scoring every season since 2016-17, and won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL leading scorer in back-to-back seasons (100 points in 2016-17; 108 points in 2017-18).

He scored an NHL career-high 116 points (41 goals, 75 assists) in 78 games in in 2018-19 to finish second in the NHL behind Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, who scored 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists) in 82 games.

“If Connor keeps playing the way he is, the other stuff will take care of itself,” Larsson said. “We have a strong group here with a big belief system. We want to get our game going and if he keeps playing like he is, I’m pretty confident he’ll reach it.”

The Oilers host the Canucks on Saturday before visiting the Montreal Canadiens on Monday and Wednesday. They end the regular season at home against the Canucks on May 15. 

McDavid has scored 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in seven games against Vancouver this season.

“I’m sure his teammates in there would love to see him get 100 points, and that’s just being a good teammate,” Tippett said. “Those are things they recognize Connor does for our team and they would love for him to get that 100 points. … Our main focus and I know Connor’s main focus is making sure our team is playing well going into the playoffs.” independent correspondent Derek Van Diest contributed to this report

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