The Oilers’ penalty kill cost Edmonton the game last night in Washington when they allowed four power play goals on five kills. The penalty kill has struggled all season, but last night they took it to a new, low level. Last season the Capitals’ first unit power play consisted of John Carlson, Nicklas Backstrom and TJ Oshie, Tom Wilson, and Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin was the only one dressed last night, and the Capitals’ PP still shredded the Oilers. Washington entered the game 20.9% on the PP, good for 16th place, but this morning their PP is now sixth at 27.1%.
And now tonight the Oilers have to face Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and the Lightning’s dangerous power play group. It could get ugly quickly, if the Oilers’ PK doesn’t wake up.
Last night was the 32nd time in franchise history the Oilers allowed four power play goals in a game. They are 3-28-1 in those games. The franchise record is six, which occurred on February 12th, 1984, in Hartford. Edmonton lost 11-0 that night. At least the Whalers had their top players dressed. It is bad enough giving up four PP goals, but when you do it to a depleted PP unit it looks even worse.
— Edmonton is now 30th on the PK at 67.9%. They’ve allowed 18 goals on 56 kills — in 13 games. They are averaging 1.38 goals against on the penalty kill alone. And the problem is there isn’t one culprit. It is a complete team effort. The forwards, defencemen and goaltenders all need to be better. Make smarter reads, get sticks in lanes, get pucks out when you can and make more saves. Every aspect of the PK must improve, or the Oilers will hover around .500.
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— Edmonton had a similar run of ineptitude last year on the PK. Between December 1st and January 31st, the Oilers’ PK was 67.2% over a 27-game stretch. It was a main factor in Dave Tippett being fired. The oddity of last season was in their first 20 games of the season the PK was 87.1%. And in 2020 and 2021 the Oilers had the third-best combined PK at 83.6%. So, over a 147-game stretch the Oilers PK was 84.1%, and then suddenly it hit the ditch for 28 games last season. And then in the final 38 games, the PK rebounded to 82.1%, eighth best in the NHL in that span.
— And now it is awful again, and it is costing them games. It will improve when the goalies make more saves. Your goalie has to be your best penalty killer and right now neither Jack Campbell nor Stuart Skinner is making enough stops. Between 2020 to 2022 Mike Smith had a .901Sv% in 99 games. Mikko Koskinen posted a .882Sv% in 109 games and Skinner had a .864Sv% in 13 games.
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This season Campbell has a .786Sv% (12 goals on 56 shots) and Skinner has a .800Sv% (six goals on 30 shots). The system needs to be better in front of the goalies, but Campbell needs to make more saves tonight to give the PK some confidence.
— Nikita Kucherov has a 10-game point streak (6-13-19), and he’s scored a goal in the last six Tampa games. Tampa’s PP is 4-for-15 in their last three games, after going 1-for-12 in the previous four games. The PP has started to heat up again, even without Steven Stamkos scoring. He leads the Lightning with five PP markers, but he doesn’t have one in the last seven games. Stamkos loves playing the Oilers. He has 10 goals in 15 career games.
— Connor McDavid picked up two points in his 500th career game last night to give him 724 in his career. That is the sixth most through 500 games.
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Wayne Gretzky scored 448-738-1,186
Mario Lemieux tallied 393-578-971
Peter Stastny had 266-493-759
Mike Bossy scored 395-362-757
Jari Kurri produced 339-391-730
McDavid has 252-472-724
Sidney Crosby scored 253-453-706
Alex Ovechkin tallied 309-324-633
McDavid’s 472nd assist tied him with Bobby Orr for fourth most behind Gretzky, Lemieux and Stastny.
— McDavid has had a remarkable start to his career, and it made me wonder what the next 500 games will look like. First, here is a look at the first five 100-game segments of his career.
Game 1-100: 34-74-108.
Games 101-200: 46-84-130.
Games 201-300: 54-102-156.
Games 301-400: 57-105-162.
Games 401-500: 61-107-168.
He continues to improve. He had 107 assists in his last 100 games after producing 108 points in his first 100 games.
— What is a realistic projection for the next 500 games? McDavid has really elevated his play since March 1st. In 41 regular season games he’s produced 29-46-75 for a 1.83 points/game pace. And that doesn’t include the 10 goals and 33 points in 16 playoff games where he scored at a ridiculous 2.06 points/game.
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McDavid is at a 1.68 points/game pace over his last 100 games, so let’s just assume he maintains that for the next 200 games, and then in the final 300 he is at 1.5 pts/game. That would give him 786 points over the next 500 games. Which would equal 1,508 points in the first 1,000 games of his career. Bonkers. Maybe he dips to 1.40 pts/GP in games 700-1,000, but that would still put him at 756 over the next 500 and a total of 1478.
McDavid has a realistic shot to become the third highest scorer through 1,000 games played in NHL history.
Here is a list of the top 30 players with the most points through 1000 games played.
PLAYER
GP
G
A
P
1st
Wayne Gretzky
1000
749
1516
2265
Mario Lemieux
915
690
1033
1723
Marcel Dionne
1000
580
794
1374
Phil Esposito
1000
596
737
1333
5th
Steve Yzerman
1000
533
790
1323
Bryan Trottier
1000
474
817
1291
Jaromir Jagr
1000
523
760
1283
Jari Kurri
1000
558
721
1279
Sidney Crosby
1000
468
810
1278
10th
Guy Lafleur
1000
528
747
1275
Dale Hawerchuk
1000
470
795
1265
Paul Coffey
1000
339
910
1249
Joe Sakic
1000
480
765
1245
Peter Stastny
977
450
789
1239
15th
Mark Messier
1000
452
778
1230
Denis Savard
1000
432
789
1221
Brett Hull
1000
639
524
1163
Evgeni Malkin
993
449
709
1158
Adam Oates
1000
292
860
1152
20th
Bernie Nicholls
1000
461
683
1144
Gilbert Perreault
1000
447
696
1143
Pierre Turgeon
1000
450
686
1136
Bernie Federko
1000
369
761
1130
Ron Francis
1000
347
780
1127
25th
Mike Bossy
752
573
553
1126
26th
Alex Ovechkin
1000
603
515
1118
Bobby Hull
1000
584
531
1115
Luc Robitaille
1000
533
571
1104
Michel Goulet
1000
519
583
1102
30th
Jean Beliveau
1000
465
634
1099
— McDavid needs 651 points in his next 500 games to surpass Marcel Dionne for third spot on this list. That would be a 1.30 pts/GP pace. McDavid is currently at 1.45 pts/GP. Is it realistic? Let’s compare the 1st 500 games and second 500 games of those in the top-seven quickest to 500 points.
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Players
1st 500 GP
2nd 500 GP
Gretzky
1186 (2.37)
1079 (2.16)
Lemieux
971 (1.94)
752 (1.81 in 415 GP)
Stastny
759 (1.52)
480 (1.01 in 477 GP)
Bossy
757 (1.51)
368 (1.46 in 252 GP)
Kurri
730 (1.46)
549 (1.10)
McDavid
724 (1.45)
???
Crosby
706 (1.41)
572 (1.14)
Gretzky was a freak. Lemieux and Bossy had their careers shortened due to injury, but both remained very productive in their second 500-game stretch. Stastny came to the NHL as a 24-year-old rookie, so his production dipped more in the final 500 games likely due to age. How many more points would he have scored if he came to the NHL at 20 or 21? NHL fans were lucky he, and his brothers Anton and Marian, were brave enough to defect from the-then communist Czechoslovakia.
I wonder how Crosby would have fared without his concussion issues for parts of three seasons. I think injuries are the only thing that will prevent McDavid from passing Dionne.
Dionne scored 616 points (1.23 pts/GP) in his first 500 games, but then he scored 758 (1.51) in his next 500 games to reach 1374 in game 1000. Dionne became more productive, and so did Phil Esposito. Esposito scored 561 points in his first 500 games (1.12), and then he scored 772 in his next 500 (1.54). From what I’ve seen from McDavid recently I believe it is very possible his pts/GP in his next 500 games will be higher than his current 1.45.
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Enjoy the ride. It is rare to see a player
— Leon Draisaitl also has a chance to reach the top 30 in most points after 1,000 games. He scored 549 points (1.10 pts/GP) in his first 500 games, but he’s already at 1.30 pts/GP in his second 500-game stretch. If he maintains that pace, he will slot in at 17th place ahead of Brett Hull with 1,199 points. Oilers fans are getting to witness two of the elite players in NHL history on a nightly basis.