NHL: Oilers, Kraken clash in crucial Pacific Division matchup


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The NHL might as well start engraving the Art Ross Trophy, because nobody is catching Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for the scoring title.

Already with 131 points, the Oilers star has a whopping 30 more than anyone else in the league, and his 57 goals are 11 more than any other player.

His point total is already the most in the NHL in more than a quarter century (since Mario Lemieux totaled 161 in 1996), and McDavid will try to add to his total Saturday afternoon in Seattle when the Oilers (38-28-8, 84 points) face the host Kraken (38-23-7, 83 points).

McDavid scored his NHL-leading 57th goal and added an assist Thursday in the Oilers’ 4-1 victory over visiting Dallas.

“We’re getting to the point in the season where it’s almost like coaches step back and the players (take over),” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “You give them a plan and hold people accountable but we’re getting to the players’ time of year here.”

Mattias Janmark scored twice and Evan Bouchard had a pair of assists Thursday for Edmonton, which has won two straight and four of its past five games. Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced.

“We are always hungry to continue to get better,” Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse said. “We can definitely take some good pieces from that game and build on them. That is a good sign for us here. We have a lot of important hockey coming up.”

The Oilers are in third place, a point ahead of Seattle in the Pacific Division, though the Kraken have a game in hand.

Seattle snapped a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) with a 2-1 overtime victory Thursday in San Jose.

Vince Dunn scored the winner to extend his points streak to a franchise-record 11 games (four goals, 12 assists). Dunn is the third defenseman to have an 11-game run this season, joining San Jose’s Erik Karlsson and Winnipeg’s Josh Morrissey.

Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and an assist for the Kraken and goalie Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves.

“There was a will to him,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said of Dunn. “You can see his confidence offensively with the puck. At times he controlled some of the play, and maybe fitting that he was the guy to make the play on the winning goal.”

This will be the fourth and final regular-season meeting between the teams. The Oilers have a 2-1-0 edge in the season series, including a 7-2 victory Dec. 30 at Seattle. McDavid has seven points (three goals, four assists) in the three games.

“Coming up is a pretty big test,” Grubauer said. “We are playing teams that are even with us in the standings.”

Seattle’s Matty Beniers is tied for the NHL’s rookie goal-scoring lead with 19 this season. Dallas’ Wyatt Johnston pulled even with Beniers with the Stars’ lone goal in Thursday’s loss in Edmonton.

The Oilers hope to get forward Zach Hyman back after he sat out the previous two games with an undisclosed injury. Hyman had a goal and two assists against the Kraken in a 5-2 home victory on Jan. 17.

Seattle posted a 5-2 victory at Edmonton on Jan. 3, rallying from a two-goal deficit. Jaden Schwartz had a goal and two assists.
–Field Level Media


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