Edmonton's Connor McDavid has brushed off talk about scoring 100 points in this pandemic-shortened NHL season.
But his teammates haven't.
With five games remaining in the 56-game schedule, starting with Thursday night's contest at home against the Vancouver Canucks, McDavid needs seven more points to reach the milestone.
"Personally, I want to continue to play good hockey, our group wants to continue to play good hockey," McDavid said over the weekend. "We want to go into the (Stanley Cup) playoffs on a good note. Personally, it's a number. Obviously, it'd be kind of different to be able to do it in a shortened season, but I'm not going to change anything. I'm just going to keep playing my game, and if I get there, I get there. And if not, whatever."
McDavid's chances are good. He has scored at least one point in 40 of 51 games this season, has 24 points in his past 10 games and 12 over his past five.
"He does so much for our team on a nightly basis, the least we can do is help him out as much as we can," said teammate Leon Draisaitl, the reigning Hart Memorial Trophy winner who scored twice on assists from McDavid in a 4-1 victory Tuesday at Vancouver.
"It might not be that important to him, but it sure is important for us for him to get to that point," Draisatl said. "Our team really wants him to get it."
McDavid tallied two goals and two assists Monday in a 5-3 victory at Vancouver.
"It's pretty amazing," Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. "We know how special a player he is, but to be able to do it every night is another story. He does it in practice every day, too, so we do get a taste of it. But obviously he's having a special season and he's a pretty spectacular player."
McDavid and Draisaitl, who also won last year's Art Ross Trophy winner as the league's leading scorer, combined for six points in Monday's victory, which clinched a playoff berth for the Oilers (32-17-2, 66 points).
"You can't lose sight of them for a second. You give them a little bit of room and they'll make things happen," Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler said of Edmonton's dynamic duo. "All five guys on the ice have got to be sharp, know where they are and try to take away their time and space."
While the Oilers are securely in second place in the all-Canadian North Division, the Canucks (19-25-3, 41 points) have lost six consecutive games to drop into last place, four points behind Ottawa with five games in hand.
"It's never fun to lose. No one likes that," Edler said. "But there's nothing we can do about the games we've lost now. We've just got to look forward to the next game. We've got to be mentally ready to play the next games, to work hard, to battle together. And we're looking forward to the next game."
--Field Level Media