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GDB 50.0: 90 points in 50 games? (8pm MT, SNW)

Connor McDavid is three points shy of 90 as the Edmonton Oilers play their 50th game of the season tonight in Vancouver. No player has reached 90 points in 50 games since 1996 and only Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Wayne Gretzky and Adam Oates have one it in the past 30 years.

Lemieux had 90  points in only 34 games in 1996 and 1993.

Jagr and Oates needed 46 games to reach 90 points in 1996 and 1991 respectively, while Gretzky did it in 47 games with the LA Kings in 1991.

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Gretzky reached 90 points in his 31st game in 1984/1985 and did it in 32 games in 1983/1984.

The game has changed a lot in 30 years, so let’s compare McDavid’s scoring pace to recent scorers who reached 90 points.

Sidney Crosby did it in 54 games in 2006/2007.
Alex Ovechkin had 90 points in 56 games in 2010.
Leon Draisaitl scored 90 points in 57 games last season.
Nikita Kucherov did it in 58 games in 2018/2019.
Jagr (58 games) and Joe Thornton (60 games) in 2005/2006.
McDavid’s previous fastest to 90 points was 60 games last season and he did it in 61 games in 2018/2019.

Just comparing him against himself illustrates how incredible he has been this season.

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I see no zero reason to downplay what he is doing this season. Every day you could find a new stat that accurately depicts how well he has played. Oilers fans should celebrate it. You might never see another Oilers player dominate like McDavid is right now. His biggest challenger might be his own teammate — Draisaitl.

It isn’t just the point totals that grab your attention. Every game McDavid’s unmatched speed with the puck is on full display. He makes entering the zone look easy. But it isn’t. He just makes it seem that way.

And tonight he faces the 28th place Vancouver Canucks. They were below average before COVID hit them, and now they are more physically worn down.

They really struggling limiting scoring chances according to Sportlogiq.

Vancouver is 30th or 31st in nine of the 12 categories in limiting scoring chances. They are 30th in shots from the slot off the rush. McDavid leads the NHL, by a large margin, in scoring chances off the rush. Not a good sign for Vancouver.

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LINEUPS…

Oilers

Draisaitl – McDavid – Puljujarvi
Kahun – RNH – Yamamoto
Ennis – McLeod– Archibald
Neal – Khaira – Chiasson

Nurse – Barrie
Kulikov – Larsson
Jones – Bear

Koskinen

Jesse Puljujarvi is back with McDavid. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is back at C on the second line, Ryan McLeod will centre the third line andJujhar Khaira returns to the lineup to centre the fourth line. He is back with James Neal and Alex Chiasson. They were a really good trio in the bubble last year.

Haas and Shore are banged up according to Tippett. Haas wasn’t on the ice for the morning skate.

Mikko Koskinen gets the start and he looks to continue his solid play since February 9th. In his nine starts since he is 6-3 with a .933sv% and 2.00 GAA. He has been excellent in the backup role and Dave Tippett said he plans to get him and Smith enough games. I could see Koskinen starting at least three games.

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Canucks

Pearson – Horvat – Lind
Höglander – Miller – Boeser
Highmore – Graovac – Hawryluk
Vesey – Boyd – MacEwen

Edler – Schmidt
Hughes – Hamonic
Juolevi – Myers

Holtby

Vancouver is still without Elias Pettersson. He hasn’t played since March 2nd and will miss his 20th game tonight. Brandon Sutter, Tyler Motte, Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel are also banged up. Jake Virtanen is on leave after a young woman accused him of sexual misconduct. All adults, men and women, should remember “No, means no.” Full stop. Whatever happened up to that point doesn’t matter. If someone says “no” you stop. This is much bigger than one NHL player. It is a major issue in society and it needs to be discussed if we want it to change.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From CanucksArmy.ca:

The great Drake said it best, and the Canucks are at home for a pair of games against the Oilers before going to Edmonton to face them a few more times. This should be a ton of fun. Who wouldn’t be excited for Connor McDavid and his journey to 100 points this season? The Canucks have a player or two that could equal that total… combined.

Thankfully, there are only 11 games left but that little possibility of playoffs still looms. Just kidding. They aren’t mathematically eliminated quite yet so I suppose we say there’s still a chance.

Is there even a scenario where they make it? Can someone lay it out for me?

Let’s Do This!™

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Canucks losing streak extends to five as Oilers win 6-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid reaches 90 points in 50 games and reaches 30 goals for the fifth consecutive season.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Caleb Jones scores his first goal of the season and first goal in 30 games dating back to March 7th, 2020.

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