GDB 72.0 Wrap Up: Connor McDavid scores his 60th as Edmonton Oilers shake Arizona Coyotes 4-3 in overtime
By Zach Laing8 months ago
Connor McDavid is inevitable.
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And on Wednesday night, he hit the 60-goal mark for the first time in his career. There is lots to talk about out of the Edmonton Oilers’ 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes, but we’ll get to that later.
But for now, it’s all about Connor.
It’s hard to not sit here in complete awe of McDavid as a player. He had a two-goal performance last night and is just such a dynamic player. His game-opener at the 5:47 mark of the first period was just straight-up silly. From below the goalline, off the back of Connor Ingram and into the net? There are very, very few players who would think of trying to pull off a move like that, let alone have the skill set to be able to pull it off.
He does these little things that just seem so normal for him, it’s almost easy to overlook them. “Oh, it’s just Connor being Connor.” No, it’s not. It’s the world’s best hockey player doing things with the puck on his stick that no other hockey player in the history of the game can do.
I always think back to what Bob Stauffer will often say on the Oilers’ broadcasts calling McDavid hockey’s most advanced player, and I think that’s a tremendous way to put it. Nobody ever has combined the speed, the edge work, the puck skills, the hockey IQ and the pure talent the way that Connor has. It’s hard to not think of him already being a Mount Rushmore player and he’s only 26 years old.
Next up: can he score 10 goals in the next 10 games to hit the 70-goal mark?
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Just won, baby
The Edmonton Oilers have the weirdest affinity for playing down to their opponents, or for just straight-up getting goalie’d by their opponents in games they should be winning. It felt like a little bit of both tonight as the Arizona Coyotes came into town.
Things felt good early on with Connor McDavid scoring 5:47 into the game as the Oilers absolutely peppered Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram. Edmonton’s PK had some issues later in the frame as JJ Moser scored to tie it up at one.
The back-and-forth affair continued all night, but we’d be remiss to not mention another great performance from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He scored a huge two goals — one on the powerplay with 10 seconds left in the second period, and a game-tying goal at the 12:17 mark of the third frame. Another huge performance from Leon Draisaitl, too, with four assists — three primary — helping the Oilers win. He was on fire.
At the end of the day, the Oilers managed to walk out with two points on a night they probably shouldn’t have. Leaving Rogers Place with no points would’ve been a disaster in a game like this, so it was huge to see them be able to pick up two.
Woodcroft breaks up Nurse-Ceci
This was a big one that snuck right under the radar. Like the football coach he is, Woodcroft gave no inclination as to what the lines and pairing would really look like. Reid Wilkins noted this morning that Foegele and Yamamoto would skate with Draisaitl on the second line, and that Nugent-Hopkins would anchor the third line.
We also knew Devin Shore would come out, and the Oilers would run 11/7 once again. What we didn’t know, however, is how those configurations would shake out.
Come game time, it was Ryan Rishaug who shared the new defensive pairings.
Fascinating to look at, really. It’s no surprise that Ekholm and Bouchard are the Oilers’ defacto new top-pairing, but to see Woodcroft and co. split up Nurse and Ceci is a revelation of sort. These two have really, really struggled this season. Looking at their 5×5 rates as a pairing compared to others who play significant minutes, and the struggles are apparent.
This season when Nurse is with Ceci at 5×5, the Oilers have been outscored 40-44 controlling 47.62 percent of the goals are. When Nurse has been away from Ceci, the Oilers have outscored opponents 26-17 for a 60.47 percent goal share. Ceci away from Nurse? Oilers are being outscored 8-10 controlling 44.44 percent of the goal share.
Tonight Nurse still saw some ice time with Ceci due to the 11/7 configuration, but he did end up playing most of his minutes with Desharnais. The two were on the ice together when Clayton Keller scored the Coyotes’ third goal of the game. I think it just goes to show you can’t have these two out there together at all right now.
I’m really interested to see if this new configuration sticks or not.
Sending love to BaggedMilk and Frank
I wanted to take a moment and send some love over to BaggedMilk and his beloved boy, Frank. BM got some terrible news about his pup on Wednesday and Frank might need to go under the knife due to an issue with his foot.
You may see all the work that BM puts in on a regular basis with his writing on the site and his podcast work, but this man works tirelessly behind the scenes every day to keep Oilersnation and The Nation Network as a whole chugging along. Simply put: we couldn’t do it without him.
It goes without saying that Frank means the world to him, so I wanted to send a little message of love and ask that you all keep both of them in your thoughts.
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 email@example.com.
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