GDB 22.0: Connor McDavid on a Heater (6pm MT, SNW)

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
6 months ago
It was inevitable Connor McDavid’s offensive touch would return, and once again McDavid is producing like the best player in the world. He has 15 points in his past five games and 12 in his last three. McDavid is back to being a threat every shift, and the Oilers are getting contributions throughout the lineup as they look to extend their winning streak to a season-best four games tonight in Winnipeg.
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McDavid has rocketed up the scoring leader board in a ridiculous fashion. He was 108th in scoring with 13 points before stepping on the ice to face Florida on November 20th. Fast forward 10 days and he’s in 10th place with eight goals and 28 points. He and Leon Draisaitl are nine points behind scoring leader Nikita Kucherov. McDavid has regained his confidence, he’s healthier than he was early in the season, and he is focused on leading the Oilers into a playoff spot. His climb up the scoring race will be quicker than moving up the standings, because you only get two points for a win and he’s averaging four points/game lately.
And as hot as McDavid’s been, the Oilers’ scoring has been spread out quite nicely during this recent surge.
Ten players have at least one goal during their three-game winning streak and eight players are averaging one point per game, including Vincent Desharnais who has three assists in three games. Fifteen skaters have a point, and only the third line hasn’t scored despite outshooting the opposition 14-8. The Oilers’ offence has regained its form from last season when the team led the NHL in goals. During their resurgent stretch with a record of 6-3, Edmonton is tied for Colorado for the most goals with 39. In their first 12 games this year the Oilers ranked 27th in goals with 31. It was an outlier, and their offence is back to normal. They are seventh in 5×5 goals and their PP is third at 29.4%.
Defensively, they are improving, sitting 16th in GA/GP at 3.11. Their penalty kill has been excellent, clicking at 89.2%. They are far from a finished product, as we saw them blow 2-0 leads in Tampa Bay and Florida and got crushed in Carolina. But there has been more strong play than weak play recently.
They’d love to keep it rolling against a Jets team that is also feeling it. The Jets are 7-3 in their last ten, but have lost their last two games, 2-0 to Dallas and 3-2 to Nashville. They outshot the Stars and Predators, but Jake Oettinger and Juuse Saros stoned them.
Edmonton has done a good job reducing high danger chances lately, so much so, that they now rank fourth best in allowing HD chances via Sport Logiq.
The Jets are stingy defensively as well, ranking fifth best in HD chances allowed, and they have Connor Hellebuyck, who when they have a break down can make the big save. Winnipeg’s offence is 26th in HD chances created, but eighth in goals scored. They’ve done a good job finishing their chances. Winnipeg has been deadly in the third period recently.
During their 7-3 stretch they have outscored teams 8-5 in the first, are tied 12-12 in the second, but have outscored their opponents 14-5 in the third.
The Oilers are the highest scoring team in the first period this season with 32 goals. They led the NHL in first period goals, and second period goals last year.
During their 6-3 resurgence Edmonton has outscored teams 17-10 in the first, 12-9 in the second and tied 9-9 in the third.
Edmonton’s offence has been great early in games, but slows down in the final 40 minutes. By period they’ve scored 32, 22 and 15 goals. Winnipeg is the opposite. They’ve scored 16, 26 and 27 from the first to third periods.  But the Jets don’t give up as much as Edmonton. They’ve allowed only 15 goals in the first period, which is sixth lowest, and they’ve allowed the sixth and seventh fewest in the second and third periods. Even during their hot streak the Oilers rank 17th, 18th and 19th in goals allowed by period.
Their overall team defence has tightened up. They’ve lowered their high-danger chances and odd-man rushes, but they can still be better, and they need more consistent goaltending.


Ryan McLeod has no goals in 21 games this year and is goalless in his last 25 regular season games. His last goal was March 9th, 2023, in Boston. He has one goal in his last 37 regular season games.
Connor Brown has no goals in 15 games this season and hasn’t scored in his last 33 games. His last goal was in Arizona on March 14th, 2022, when he played for the Senators.
Adam Erne is goalless in 12 games this year and hasn’t scored in 24 games. His last tally was March 12th, 2023, v. Boston.
Brown has to get more pucks on net. He only has 38 shots during his 33-game drought.
McLeod has eight shots in his last four games, and has been shooting more lately, but overall, this season he’s averaging fewer shots on goal/game than he had last year.
Erne doesn’t play as much as those two, so his shot totals are understandably lower. He’s been engaged since being recalled. He’s been physical and his line has outscored the opposition 4-1 in his six games since coming up. You’d still like to see him chip in. He actually led the Detroit Red Wings in goals during the COVID-shortened 2021 season. Granted it was 11 goals, but 11 goals in 56 games isn’t bad production at all.
The good news for the Oilers is the rest of the team is scoring, but it would be a big boost for Brown and McLeod (and Erne, to a lesser extent), to find a goal.




RNH – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – Draisaitl – Brown
Foegele – McLeod – Gagner
Janmark – Hamblin – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
Zach Hyman returns after missing Tuesday’s game with an illness. Janmark-Brown and Ryan-RNH have been the top-two PK units, followed by McLeod-Foegele, so I’d be a bit surprised if any of them come out. Seems it will be Gagner or Adam Erne who comes out.
***Updated***. Gagner is in and the new lines are above. He plays with McLeod and Foegele, while Ryan will slot in with Janmark and Hamblin. Lefties on the left side and righties on the right.
Evander Kane has been excellent since he fought Brandon Dillon in the second period v. the Jets. He’s an emotional person, and player, and that scrap jumpstarted his season. He’s scored 11 goals in the 16 games since, including eight in his last eight games. Kane and Hyman are both having excellent seasons, and their size, physicality and tenacity gives Edmonton many different dimensions in their top six. They have elite skill with McDavid and Draisaitl, but Kane and Hyman bring other elements which makes it difficult to defend the two lines.


Connor – Schiefele – Ehlers
Perfetti – Namestnikov – Iafallo
Niederreiter – Lowry – Appleton
Barron – Gustafsson – Vilardi
Morrissey – Demelo
Dillon – Pionk
Samberg – Schmidt
It looks like Gabe Vilardi will return to the lineup tonight, while Rasmus Kupari and Ville Heinola are out with injuries. I’d expect Lowry and Schiefele to be the lines matched up against McDavid and Draisaitl, but when Namestnikov’s line is out v. them, Edmonton needs to take advantage of that matchup.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: I see another OT game, but this time Edmonton is victorious 4-3.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid keeps rolling with his fourth consecutive three-point game.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Kane scores. He entered with only has one goal in 12 career games v. Winnipeg. Tied with Buffalo (2 in 24) for his lowest goals/game against any NHL team.

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