Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Oilers plan to keep playing McDavid, Draisaitl as NHL regular season winds down

Oilers plan to keep playing McDavid, Draisaitl as NHL regular season winds down

MONTREAL — The Edmonton Oilers aren’t planning to rest NHL stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl before the playoffs, although Dave Tippett has the option of trimming minutes from their workload.

“They want to keep playing, they want to keep playing well and that will be our goal for the last three games,” Tippett said Monday before Edmonton’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

“We’ll see how it goes game by game, but our group is more focused on making sure their game is in order and pushing forward. We’ll monitor things as the week goes on.”

The Oilers face the Canadiens in Montreal for the second time in three days Wednesday before capping their regular season Saturday at home against the Vancouver Canucks.

Edmonton is assured the No. 2 playoff seed in the North Division behind the Toronto Maple Leafs. That leaves nothing at stake for the Oilers, other than giving McDavid and Draisaitl more chances to pad impressive season numbers.

McDavid, who was on the Bell Centre ice for Monday’s pre-game skate, sprinted to a season 100 points in just 53 games.

The 24-year-old Oilers captain is running away with this season’s Art Ross Trophy at 32 goals and 68 assists, followed by Draisaitl at 30 goals and 49 assists.

It’s been 25 years, and before McDavid was born, since an NHL player hit the century mark faster. Mario Lemieux (38) and Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Jaromir Jagr (52) were the last to do it in 1995-96.

With a goal and three assists in Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Canucks, McDavid reached the 100-point milestone assisting on Draisaitl’s second goal of the game and 30th of the season.

Oilers defenceman Alex Chiasson said he and teammate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tried to retrieve the souvenir puck for McDavid at the same time.

“I thought selfishly what an honour it’s been to be around Connor the last three years, so I can say one day I touched the puck that he had his 100 points on the season,” Chiasson said.

McDavid has four goals and 12 assists and Draisaitl six goals and six assists in their last five games.

They rank first and third in ice time among NHL forwards averaging 22 minutes 27 seconds and 22:19 respectively.

The Oilers don’t want to lose their stars to injury or wear them out in meaningless games, but the players and the club would also be reluctant to interrupt their momentum heading into the post-season.

With all playoff spots filled except the final berth in the North Division, the league had yet to announce playoff dates as of Monday.

“We want to make sure we’re prepared no matter when we start,” Tippett said.

Seventeen of the NHL’s 31 clubs will have completed their 56-game regular seasons by Tuesday night.

COVID-19 interruptions extended the North Division schedule to May 19 when the Canucks and Calgary Flames finally wrap it.

Edmonton’s Tyson Barrie was two points away from the NHL lead among defencemen. He wasn’t interested in sitting out games before the playoffs.

“It’s probably a bit different guy to guy,” Barrie said. “If you’re battling something or you’ve got some bumps and bruises maybe you take a night off or take it a little easier, but other than that, you’re trying to play and have your game at the top level before you’re dropping the puck on Game 1.

“Hockey is a weird one where you can’t just kind of turn it on, so you’ve got to be feeling pretty good about your game and where you’re at and your game shape.

At least for me, it’ll be a process of trying to play these last few games the right way and try to get myself ready, so it feels pretty smooth going into playoffs.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press


Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

Dharmesh Goradia, and his daughter Vidhi and wife Chaitali, at the 2017 festival for the Godess Durga, held at the Golden Circle. (Photo contributed)
Draft curriculum misses the mark for central Alberta Hindu society

Meeting scheduled with Alberta Education officials

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Air Canada says it will recall more than 2,600 employees who were furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta’s tourism sector hurt by COVID-19 pandemic: ATB Financial

Between border closures, public health measures and hesitancy to travel, Alberta’s tourism… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Most Read