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Oilers were focused and Connor McDavid was unstoppable in 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings

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Photo credit:Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
baggedmilk
14 days ago
The Oilers have a bunch of big games to play down the stretch, and none were more important than last night’s fourth and final meeting against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place. As expected, we were served with another fiery contest between two teams that cannot stand each other, which made the Oilers’ dominant 4-1 win that much sweeter.

CONNOR McDAVID IS INEVITABLE

Did anybody else love it when Connor McDavid opened the scoring and didn’t even celebrate the goal? Our man was all business, and I loved every bit of it. So, it wasn’t exactly surprising when McDavid followed his goal up with two helpers to bring him to 95 on the season, one step closer to reaching the century mark.
The three points put McDavid at 122 on the year, marking the first time since Gretzky that anyone has had three consecutive 120+ point seasons. Last night’s performance also brought the captain to within two points of Nikita Kucherov for the league lead, which is impressive when you think about it. It seems like he was eight or nine points back only yesterday, and some folks doubted he’d be able to do it. Now, I wonder how many games it will take him to tie things up.
What’s most remarkable about watching Connor McDavid’s career is that he never ceases to surprise us with what he’s capable of doing. Whether it’s scoring 60 goals like he did last year or hitting 100 assists, as he’s likely to do a game or two from now, Connor McDavid is the emperor of blowing minds out of skulls, and it’s a ride that’s been so much fun for a long time now. We’re so spoiled.

ADAM HENRIQUE IS HEATING UP

After taking a minute to get settled after the trade, Adam Henrique is really starting to find his stride, with three goals in his last six games while playing on both the second and third lines. I know some folks around here were getting concerned that Henrique hadn’t gotten much done through his first six games, but it’s hard to argue that he’s looking a whole lot more comfortable now.
What I like most about him is that all three goals he’s scored have resulted from going to the net. He’s had a tap-in, a lucky bounce of his skate, and last night, the puck bounced in off his chest. They may be ugly goals, but they’re beautiful to me. Those are the greasy ones that Edmonton needs more of to win in the playoffs because it can’t be all on Zach Hyman to pick up the garbage around the crease.
The point I’m getting to is that I love seeing Henrique starting to have some success. He’s the perfect kind of versatile piece that could prove to be crucial for the playoff push. The guy has already been moved up and down the lineup a few times, but I hope Kris Knoblauch gives him a little bit of a look beside Draisaitl because it looks like there’s starting to be some chemistry there.

I REALLY DISLIKE THE LA KINGS, AND IT’S SO MUCH FUN

Is there anything better than hating an opposing team as passionately as we do with the LA Kings? I love it. Having the first round playoff matchups over the last two years has really spiced up this rivalry, and it did not take long to see once again that these two clubs despise each other. It seemed like there was extra nonsense after nearly every whistle, and those scrums added some nice energy to the building.
Over and above their dreadful 1-3-1 trap style of defending, there are so many reasons to despise them as an opponent, and that makes for some fantastically entertaining hockey for the rest of us. It’s spicy, it’s stressful, and participating in that general disdain for each other in big games that matter is the best part about watching this sport.
I can’t wait for the playoffs. If the Oilers’ first-round opponent ends up being the Kings, we know that the series will be fiery and violent and chippy and all around awesome. It’s the kind of vibe that can only be born from squaring off in the post-season, and I would truly be excited for a third instalment in the trilogy. We shall see.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING…

-You have to love Stuart Skinner’s game, right? With 32 saves and a .970 save%, there’s little doubt how important he was to securing that win. I know a lot of the shots LA put on net came from the perimeter, there were still a handful of moments when Stu had to come up with a key save at an important moment. From start to finish, I thought Skinner was fantastic and he quite handily out-duelled his counterpart at the other end.
-With the three-assist night, Leon Draisaitl extended his point streak to six games. Over that stretch, the big man has five goals and 10 points, looking very much like a man who is heating up at precisely the right time.
-Mattias Ekholm’s offensive side is really coming out in the back half of the season. With the assist he added on McDavid’s first period goal, Ekholm finds himself with 18 points in his last 21 games. Before he got here, I knew that Ekholm was a guy you could depend on in your own end of the rink, but having him also be this good offensively is a cherry on the sundae.
-I don’t care that it was an empty-netter, I bet it felt damned good for Cody Ceci to drain that thing from as far away from the opposing net as he could possibly get. Make it three on the season for him now, which is almost amazing when you remember he went over a calendar year without scoring a goal. I love it.
-Big congrats to Corey Perry for playing in his 1300th NHL game. That number is incredible, and goes to show how resilient he’s been as a player over the course of his career, especially in the later years. We all know Corey Perry isn’t the same guy that won the Hart Trophy anymore, but the guy still finds ways to contribute even if that’s not points on the board. He doesn’t play as many minutes anymore, but he’s still just as annoying as he’s always been.
-At this point of the season, your body craves faceoff information, and I’m always here to give it to you. The unfortunate news is that the Oilers only won 42.6% of the draws, which is nowhere near where we’d like them to be. Didn’t matter in the end, but I’m watching you, Edmonton Oilers centremen.

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