Even though the Oilers didn’t pull off a last-minute comeback against the Habs on Wednesday night, I remember thinking ‘well, at least Connor McDavid got some points.’
McDavid picked up a primary assist on both Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jesse Puljujarvi’s goals in the dying seconds of the game, giving him three points on the night. Couple that with his three-point, third-period effort from Monday’s win, and McDavid put up six points in two games against the Habs this week.
All told, he has 77 points through 45 games. He’s going to win the Art Ross Trophy by a wide margin and he’s also undoubtedly going to take home the Hart Trophy. The question now is if McDavid can do the impossible and reach 100 points in this abbreviated season.
McDavid is operating at a career-high 1.71 point-per-game pace which has him on track for 96 points this season. Over a normal 82-game season, that would be a 140-point pace, the best we’ve seen since Mario Lemieux in the mid-90s. McDavid’s point-per-game this season pace ranks as the 40th highest in NHL history, dwarfing just about everything we’ve seen since the turn of the millennium.
There are 11 games left for McDavid to score 23 points and reach the 100-point plateau. Here’s how the schedule breaks down and also how he’s done against the teams he’ll be facing the remainder of the season…
Edmonton’s remaining schedule…
- Two games at Winnipeg.
- Two games vs Calgary.
- Two games at Vancouver.
- Two games vs Vancouver.
- Two games at Montreal.
- One game vs Vancouver.
How McDavid has fared against these opponents…
- Against Winnipeg: 7 games, 4 goals, 15 points.
- Against Calgary: 8 games, 7 goals, 15 points.
- Against Vancouver: 5 games, 5 goals, 8 points.
- Against Montreal: 7 games, 2 goals, 8 points.
What does it all mean?
McDavid has fared very well against two of the four opponents the Oilers will face again this season. He’s operating at slightly above a two-points-per-game pace against the Jets and he’s just below a two-point-per-game pace against the Flames. Winnipeg isn’t good at shutting things down and the Flames have checked out. Big games from McDavid are doable here.
There are also two games against the Habs, who had been doing a very good job at shutting McDavid down until this past week. Heading into this week’s two-game series, McDavid had just two points in five games against the Habs, but he exploded with six points, five of which came in the third period, over their two most recent games. The two Habs games are the ones I’m most worried about.
The real wild card is the Canucks. Vancouver didn’t play a game for nearly a month due to a COVID-19 outbreak but they’ve won back-to-back games since coming back largely due to hot goaltending. Braden Holtby stopped 74 of the 79 shots that the Maple Leafs threw at him in those two games. They’re losing to the Senators as I write this.
McDavid only has eight points in five games against the Canucks this season and they have two goaltenders capable of getting hot. That said, the Canucks are playing a lot of games over the next few weeks and fatigue is going to be a factor for them. There’s a chance we see McDavid explode for a big game against an exhausted Canucks team at some point.
So, basically, the easy way to view this is that McDavid needs to put up two points in each of his remaining 11 games and he also needs to mix one three-point game in order to reach 100. That obviously isn’t exactly how it needs to shake out, but it shows that this is certainly doable.
It feels like a lifetime ago that McDavid scored his 100th point in Edmonton’s final game of the season against the Canucks back in 2016-17. It took him all 82 games to become the first Oiler since the Dynasty Days of the 1980s to reach the century mark. Now we’re legitimately talking about him doing it in a 56-game campaign. That’s absolutely insane.
Ironically enough, we could yet again find ourselves in a situation in which McDavid reaches the illustrious 100-point mark in the final game of the season against Vancouver. I think he’ll do it. Do you?