VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)Leon Draisaitl knows there’s a spotlight fixed firmly on his teammate Connor McDavid as the Edmonton Oilers captain approaches yet another milestone.
And the German sniper believes that’s exactly the way it should be.
The entire Oilers locker room is pushing to get McDavid to the 100-point mark in the pandemic-condensed NHL season, Draisaitl said.
”He does so much for our team. He does so much for us on a nightly basis that the least we can do is help him out as much as we can.” he said. ”It might not be that important to him, but it sure is important to us for him to get to that point.”
McDavid inched closer to the goal Tuesday as the Oilers topped the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Draisaitl scored twice in the victory, with a pair of assists from McDavid, who leads the NHL in scoring with 93 points (31 goals, 62 assists) with five regular season game to go.
”He set me up twice. I mean that’s really all I can say,” said Draisaitl, who sits second in the league’s scoring race with 75 points (26 goals, 49 assists).
”It’s two nice passes, just had to make sure I bear down a little bit and obviously this time right now is about our team continuing to find our game, getting better every night and on the side it’s obviously about him trying to reach that milestone.”
It was the second night in a row the Oilers topped the Canucks, coming after Edmonton clinched a playoff spot with a 5-3 victory on Monday. McDavid and Draisaitl combined for six points in the win.
Containing Edmonton’s super stars takes a total team effort, said Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler.
”You can’t lose sight of them for a second. You give them a little bit of room and they’ll make things happen,” he said. ”All five guys on the ice have got to be sharp, know where they are and try to take away their time and space.”
Darnell Nurse also had a goal and an assist for Edmonton on Tuesday, and Evan Bouchard rounded out the scoring for the Oilers (32-17-2).
Mike Smith stopped 28 shots for Edmonton and Thatcher Demko had 23 saves for Vancouver.
Brock Boeser put away the lone goal for the Canucks (19-25-3), who saw their losing skid stretch to six games.
”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.”
Vancouver defenseman Jack Rathbone made his NHL debut. … Canucks forward Tanner Pearson played his 500th NHL game.
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