Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid put an exclamation point on his memorable season Saturday night when he recorded his 100th point in Game 53 of this coronavirus-shortened 56-game season.
He’s the first to hit 100 points in fewer than 56 games since the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr did it in 1995-96.
McDavid did it with a four-point game against the Vancouver Canucks. It’s his 33rd multipoint game of the season and the 20th time he has had three points or more.
He wasted little time getting on the scoresheet, scoring a goal less than a minute into the game. McDavid then added assists on the Oilers’ three second-period goals, including the primary assist on Leon Draisaitl’s power-play goal in the final minute of the second that earned McDavid point No. 100 on the year.
That goal held up as the winner as the Oilers claimed a 4-3 victory.
The Hart Trophy front-runner has been playing against the same six Canadian teams all season, but the accomplishment remains notable.
The most points previously scored in a shortened season were Jagr and Eric Lindros (70) in the 48-game 1994-95 season and Martin St. Louis (60 in 48 games in 2012-13). Both of those lockout-shortened seasons were conference-only play.
“He’s been a horse for us for sure and obviously a big reason why we’ve had success this season and obviously a special talent that continues to improve, which is mind-blowing in itself,” goalie Mike Smith said before the game.
McDavid is in his sixth season and this is his fourth 100-point season. He was at 97 points last season before the coronavirus pandemic ended the regular season prematurely in March.
McDavid is the third active player with at least four 100-point seasons before age 25. The others are Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
Wayne Gretzky holds the record with seven 100-point seasons before turning 25.
“Those are the game’s best players of all time,” McDavid said after Saturday night’s victory. “It’s special to be mentioned in the same breath as those guys.
“As for my game, just been focusing on trying to be prepared each and every night. I think obviously team success comes first. Our team has been able to play some good hockey most of the season with the exception of the first month.
“When the team is playing well, that’s when individuals are having success. You’re seeing lots of guys on our team have some really good seasons.”
McDavid has said during this run that he’s more focused on the drive to the Stanley Cup. He has helped the Oilers clinch a playoff berth and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
“It’s been a lot of fun to watch as a teammate of his. … It just goes to show the work that he puts in,” defenseman Darnell Nurse said before the game. “Each and every year, he comes in and just seems to be a completely different animal and just adds on top of the game that he already has developed.”
McDavid is an astounding 21 points ahead of No. 2 leading scorer Draisaitl, who has an impressive 79 points in 53 games. The reigning NHL MVP is 12 points ahead of Mitchell Marner and Brad Marchand, who sit in a tie for third with 67 points. So, McDavid is 33 points ahead of any rival player.
“It’s hard to compare eras, it’s hard to compare generations,” Draisaitl said Saturday night. “The game has changed.
“Whatever those guys did in the past is impressive. What Connor’s doing is impressive. He’s right up there with those guys. … He’s the best player in the world, so it’s fun to be a part of.”
With three games to go – and then the playoffs – there’s still time to add to his historic campaign.
“I don’t know why he’ll settle for 100,” Smith said. “There are higher goals out there that he can hit.”
Contributing: Associated Press