The Day After 49.0: Huge game from Connor McDavid leads Oilers past Wings despite uneven effort

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
4 months ago
That was one of those games where you could make Connor McDavid the first, second, and third star. You could also certainly make a case for goaltender Stuart Skinner to be an honourable mention, though.
The captain of the Edmonton Oilers led his team to an 8-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, setting a new career-high with six assists in the win.
It looked for a period of time in the middle of the game that the Oilers were going to find themselves on their first losing streak of the year 2024. Edmonton returned home following a road trip that saw them lose by scores of 3-1 and 4-0 to the Vegas Golden Knights and L.A. Kings.
They came out strong in the first and got out to an early 2-0 lead but the game was tied at 3-3 by the end of the second frame. The Oilers played pond hockey in that second period, chasing the puck all over the ice with little structure and allowing the Wings to get multiple chances on odd-man-rushes. Skinner wound up turning aside 14 of Detroit’s 16 shots in the period to keep the game tight.
And then in the third period, McDavid completely took over. The Oilers popped off with five goals and McDavid assisted on four of them.
McDavid stole the puck from a Red Wings defender to start the play on Dylan Holloway’s goal, he went up ice on a two-on-one for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ first goal, he pulled off a spin-o-rama before setting up Evander Kane’s goal, and he cleanly moved the puck around Detroit’s zone ahead of Nugent-Hopkins’ second goal.
After getting shut down by Vegas and L.A. and managing zero even-strength goals across both of those games, the Oilers came home and scored eight goals without a single power play opportunity. Some rock-solid defensive play was critical to Edmonton’s 16-game winning streak, but this win was an instance of the Oilers outscoring their problems.


What they said…

Head coach Kris Knoblauch on Connor McDavid’s performance… 
“I think his stat sheet says it all – six assists, plus six, no power play time, and he was skating. He was one of the few guys that was skating for a full 60 minutes, and the plays that he made tonight were pretty phenomenal. If he’s not on top of our game, we’re probably not winning that one.”
Dylan Holloway on getting a chance to play on McDavid’s wing… 
“From the moment the puck drops to the moment the final buzzer rings he’s pretty dialled in. It comes from his preparation, he’s like that every day at practice. Every workout he’s dialled in. It was only a matter of time before he popped off like that.”
Knoblauch on the team’s poor defensive play in the second period…
“We were just standing and watching. We had ill-advised pinching, the forwards weren’t reloading, and the amount of odd-man rushes we gave up… It was the month of January all combined in one period.”
Connor McDavid on Stuart Skinner bailing out the Oilers in the second…
“The second period was just not what we want to do. We gave up numerous chances, numerous odd-man rushes. The forwards not doing a good job coming back, d-men pinching at strange times… I think we’ve done a great job of playing solid defensive hockey for a large stretch here. I thought it got away on us big-time tonight and Stu (Skinner) bailed us out.”
Cody Ceci on scoring his first goal since October of 2022…
“It kind of felt like my first one again, it’s been so long, but it’s nice whenever you can help out. It’s not a huge part of my game, but whenever I can chip in offensively, it’s nice for the team.”
McDavid on Ceci being a solid defensive defender…
“He’s here to be a solid D-man and he’s done that ever since he’s been here. He and [Darnell Nurse] make a great pair and pitch in with a goal every now and then. It’s a great thing. Like I said, that’s not what he’s here for, but we’re definitely happy for him.”

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