NHL: Surging Oilers look to add to Canucks’ struggles
Connor McDavid continues his march toward the century mark as the visiting Edmonton Oilers look to win their sixth straight game when they visit the Vancouver Canucks in a Pacific Division clash on Saturday.
McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist and the Oilers equaled their season high of five straight wins with an electric 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
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Edmonton has won eight of its last 12 games and is battling three teams, Vegas, Seattle and Los Angeles, for first place in the division.
“The confidence is growing in the group,” said McDavid, the NHL scoring leader, who has 39 goals and 86 points in 47 games.
“You can feel it on the ice, you can feel it around the room. Confidence is a big thing and you’ve got to earn it, and it goes back to taking it one day at a time. I think we’ve done a good job of doing that.”
McDavid scored the winning goal on Thursday, extending his point streak to nine games. He has seven goals and seven assists in the streak.
McDavid needed just 37 games to reach 70 points this season and is on pace to easily eclipse the 100-point mark.
Zach Hyman scored twice in the win over the Lightning. Hyman is enjoying a stellar season with a career-high 29 assists and is just four goals away from tying his season best of 27.
“Last five games has been a good stretch. We beat a few good teams in that span. It is good, but we want to finish out the right way before the (All-Star) break,” defenseman Darnell Nurse said after Thursday’s victory.
The struggling Canucks have won just two of their last 11 games, fueling speculation that head coach Bruce Boudreau might be on the way out.
An emotional Boudreau addressed his future with the team before Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Canucks fans chanted his name as the end of the contest.
“I’d be a fool not to say that I don’t know what’s going on,” said Boudreau at the morning practice. “I got my wife phoning me saying ‘You are not on the ice, is everything OK?’
“It is tough not to feel it. You love it (job), you want to go do it. That’s the way I shut it out.”
Canucks president Jim Rutherford said earlier in the week he has spoken to potential candidates about a replacement for Boudreau. Former NHL player Rick Tocchet is most frequently mentioned as a possible replacement.
The Canucks are led offensively by Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat, who were both recently named to the Feb. 4 All-Star Game.
Pettersson scored a goal Friday in the loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche. He has 19 goals and 53 points.
Horvat has 30 goals in 45 games but had his nine-game point streak, a career long, snapped Friday.
Colorado jumped out to a 3-0 lead halfway through the second period after the Canucks gave up a pair of two-man advantage power-play goals in a lackluster effort.
The game against Edmonton is the third of a four-game homestand for Vancouver.
The Canucks host Chicago on Tuesday before making a short trip to Seattle and then returning home to face Columbus before the All-Star break.
–Field Level Media
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