GDB 44.0 Wrap Up: Birthday boy Connor McDavid leads Oilers over Sharks

Zach Laing
10 months ago
Yeah, the Oilers really didn’t want to lose this one.
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You could sense from the time the puck hit the ice Edmonton wanted to take care of business, and boy, did they. By the end of the night, they racked up seven goals in a 7-1 rout of the San Jose Sharks.
It was quite frankly a dominant performance from the Oilers scoring in virtually every way possible. They scored at 5×5, they scored on the powerplay and they scored shorthanded. The birthday boy, to no surprise, shined.
It was Connor McDavid who broke open the scoring by firing a wrist shot past Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen. Walking down from the blueline unabated through a crowd, his shot left his stick like a bullet finding twine. It wasn’t his only tally, either. Almost eight and a half minutes into the second, it was an easy deflection on the powerplay for number two.
McDavid’s first was a huge catalyst that broke the game open for the Oilers. While he couldn’t get a third on the night, there were a few huge goals throughout the night. Klim Kostin doesn’t care about unsustainably high shooting percentages as he got on the board — a goal that featured Vincent Desharnais getting his first NHL point, an assist.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins found the back of the net with a shorthanded goal for his 21st of the season chipping in two assists on the night, as well. He’s now 8th in the NHL in scoring and at age 29, is having an absolute career year.
Leon Draisaitl scored his 24th. Keep an eye out, Leon, as Nuge is nipping on those heels.

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But what was great to see some depth goals as well. The aforementioned Kostin had his eighth, but Jesse Puljujarvi and Ryan McLeod scored their fourth, and fifth goals of the season, respectively. Dylan Holloway and Warren Foegele each chipped in assists on McLeod’s, which will only further help their confidence as well.
One more bright point on the night was the play of Jack Campbell. Tested at times, it was unfortunate to see a late one squeak past him to break a shutout big. While his numbers not have shown it coming into this game (2-2-0, .897 sv% in his last five games), there’s been this feeling that Jack Campbell’s game is starting to turn his game around. If there was ever a night to be a huge confidence boost, it was tonight. It wasn’t exactly a quiet night for him, either, as he turned aside 26 shots from the Sharks.
As I wrote about in the GDB earlier today, this was a game that could be a catalyst point, of sorts. I opined it was the right time to string some wins together, and they looked determined to do so tonight. That’s a great sign because there are a few tough ones ahead. Vegas tomorrow night won’t be easy, but the Oilers will have the Nation Vacationers standing behind them. The Golden Knights will be without Mark Stone, too, so that plays in the Oilers’ favour as well.
Let’s see what they can do.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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