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McDavid challenges for scoring title as Oilers dump Ducks

Edmonton Oilers Celebrate Edmonton Oilers Celebrate - The Canadian Press

EDMONTON — Considering Connor McDavid sat 114th in NHL scoring on Nov. 10, it has been an impressive climb to where he now sits with 125 points to his credit.

McDavid scored two goals and added an assist to at least temporarily take the lead in what has become a dynamic three-way NHL scoring race as the Edmonton Oilers dumped the Anaheim Ducks 6-1 on Saturday.

McDavid typically downplayed his impressive charge up the leaderboard from a substandard start.

“It's nice, I guess. (It’s a) position I've been in many times before,” he said. “We're playing for things bigger than that — making sure our game is in order, and we're still playing for positioning. There are 10 games left. You never know what could happen.”

Mattias Ekholm had a goal and two assists for the Oilers (45-23-4), who have won three games in a row.

“I thought we came out flying in the first, played really well,” Ekholm said. “When the game gets out of hand early, obviously it’s easier to manage them. Their team is usually one that will stick around if they can, but I thought we did a good job of managing in the first and we kind of did a good job of putting them away early and then just went from there.”

Adam Henrique, Warren Foegele and Zach Hyman had the other goals for Edmonton, which is 16-2-2 in its last 20 games on home ice.

Alex Killorn replied for the Ducks (24-46-4), who have lost four straight and are 1-9-1 in their last 11 outings.

“We started out a little slow, measured and they got a couple quality opportunities and they put them in the net,” said Ducks head coach Greg Cronin. “It’s really hard to start out a game on the road down 3-zip. We dug a hole and we had some chances to get back in. Frankie (Vatrano) had a wide-open net, hit a pipe, but we just weren’t good enough tonight.”

Edmonton got off to a solid start, taking just 3:47 to get the game’s first goal.

Leon Draisaitl dropped a pass back to Henrique, who scored on his own rebound for his 22nd goal of the season and fourth as an Oiler. Draisaitl extended his point streak to seven games on the play.

McDavid also stretched his point streak to seven games with 5:45 left in the opening period. He snagged a loose puck and used his speed to get around Ducks forward Bo Groulx before freezing goalie John Gibson with a quick move for his 28th goal.

The Oilers went up 3-0 a couple of minutes later as Ekholm sent a blast from the point through traffic for his eighth of the campaign.

Anaheim had a glorious opportunity to get on the board in the final minute of the first period as Vatrano had Oilers goalie Calvin Pickard beat, but rang his shot off the post.

Edmonton added to its lead on the power play midway through the second period as Draisaitl gave it back to McDavid in the slot and he scored his second of the game.

The Oilers continued their assault with four minutes to play in the stanza as Ekholm sent Foegele in on a breakaway and he notched his 17th goal of the season.

McDavid picked up his third point of the game seven minutes into the third period. He spotted Hyman for a one-timer and his 52nd goal of the season.

Entering Saturday night's games, McDavid was one point ahead of Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov and two ahead of Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon.

The Ducks ended Pickard’s shutout bid with 4:18 to play in the third period as Killorn notched his 15th goal.


It was the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this season. Edmonton won the previous three encounters by a combined score of 20-7. ... Henrique and Sam Carrick both got points in their first game against their old team after being traded to Edmonton near the deadline. … Another Oilers deadline acquisition, Troy Stecher, came into the lineup with fellow defender Cody Ceci out due to illness. Edmonton went down to five blue-liners in the first period when Brett Kulak took a puck up high and did not return. … Missing for the Ducks were Radko Gudas (upper body) and Max Jones (upper body). … The Oilers announced the signing of minor-league netminder Olivier Rodrigue, who has had a solid season in Bakersfield of the AHL, to a one-year, two-way contract extension through the 2024-25 season.


Ducks: Visit the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Oilers: Visit the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2024.