EDMONTON — Connor McDavid is playing like he has his sights set on a second straight scoring title.
McDavid scored a pair of goals and added an assist as the Edmonton Oilers emerged with a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
The Oilers captain has six goals and seven assists for 13 points in his last seven games and 84 points on the season, putting him four points back of league-leading Nikita Kucherov (88) and one behind Evgeni Malkin (85) in the race for the Art Ross Trophy, an honour McDavid took home last season for the first time in his career.
“I’m just looking to finish out the season strong with the team and individually as well,” McDavid said.
“He’s the captain, he has all the talent in the world and I think he’s a little bit sour and a little bit bitter with how the year has gone,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. “He’s not going to go away whimpering and when your leader does that, it forces everybody else to play their game.”
Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the Oilers (30-34-4), who have won three straight.
“It feels really good, especially against a team like that,” said Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot, who stopped 32-of-33 shots. “They’re playing some really good hockey right now and extremely well offensively.
“To hold a team like that to one goal took the whole group. We played a heck of a game. Everyone is playing pretty well right now.”
Charlie Coyle replied for the Wild (39-23-7), who had a three-game winning streak of their own snapped.
“That wasn’t our game in the second period tonight,” Coyle said. “We were turning pucks over and we weren’t skating and playing simple, which is our recipe for success. We kind of stopped doing that and fed right into their game.”
There was no scoring in the first period, with Minnesota getting the bulk of the chances with 12 shots on Talbot, while Edmonton only put five shots on Devan Dubnyk in the Wild net.
Edmonton broke the deadlock with 10:48 to play in the second period as McDavid danced around defender Ryan Suter and then deposited his own rebound into the net for his career-high 32nd goal of the season.
McDavid did it again on the power play just a couple of minutes later, staying on for a second shift and then sniping a shot in from the top of the circle with Milan Lucic screening Dubnyk in front. McDavid has 18 goals in his last 19 games after getting just 15 in his first 49 of the season.
The Wild pulled to within one midway through the third when Coyle converted on a crisp Tyler Ennis pass through the crease for his 10th of the season.
Edmonton got some insurance with 3:35 remaining from Draisaitl, scoring a power-play goal while on a 3-on-1 break.
Nugent-Hopkins put the game away with an empty-netter, his 300th career NHL point.
Both teams return to action on Tuesday as the Wild head home to host the Colorado Avalanche, while the Oilers head to Calgary to face the Flames.
Notes: It was the second of three meetings between the two teams this season, with the Oilers winning the first encounter 3-2 on Dec. 16 in Minnesota. The two clubs will close out their season series on April 2 in St. Paul… The Oilers were without defenceman Oscar Klefbom, who is expected to miss at least the next two games after undergoing what has been referred to as a minor procedure… Out for the Wild was defender Nick Seeler (illness)… Minnesota forward Eric Staal came into the game with 37 goals in 68 games this season, his best total since scoring 40 with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2008-2009.