On a night when the Oilers secured a fine team win, we look at three stars who shone brightest in the 5-4 victory against the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
While they might be loathe to admit it, revenge was on the minds of the Oilers players on Tuesday night. And while the 5-4 shootout win doesn’t make up for being knocked out of the playoffs by the Golden Knights last season, it still counts for something.
The Oilers are on a roll now, with their second three-game win streak of the 2023-24 campaign and their sixth victory in their last nine games. There’s still plenty to do, but at least the team is trending in the right direction.
In truth the Oilers shouldn’t have needed a shootout, after being the better team on the night. However, their lingering defensive issues came back to bite them in the ass, as the Golden Knights came back from a 4-2 deficit in the third period to force overtime.
Ultimately though, what matters most is that the Oilers did eventually secure the win. Here are our three studs from an entertaining game at Rogers Place:
1) Connor McDavid
It’s safe to say Connor McDavid is over whatever was causing his slump (by his lofty standards) to begin this season. He’s on a run which has seen him shoot up to tied ninth alongside teammate Leon Draisaitl (and Colorado’s Nathan McKinnon), with 28th points.
McDavid entered the night having been awarded the NHL’s first star, for the week ending Nov. 26. Helping him earn this, was nine points — including eight assists — in his previous two games.
The five-time Art Ross Trophy winner continued his rich vein of form, with another three points versus the Golden Knights. This included two helpers, to assist Mattias Janmark and Evander Kane on their respective goals.
McDavid’s most exciting highlight came at the 7:54 mark of the second period, when he collected a rebound on the breakaway. Number 97 flying down the ice is one of the most thrilling sights in hockey, and he provided the coup de grâce by confidently firing the puck home for a 3-2 lead.
However, the six-time All-Star’s most important moment came in the shootout following overtime. He scored the Oilers’ first and they clinched the win following Ryan Nugent-Hopkins effort.
When McDavid’s on form, he’s tough to handle. By extension the Oilers as a whole become more difficult to deal with, and they now have 17 goals in their previous three games.
The 2015 first overall draft pick is well aware of how things are beginning to turn around for the better in Edmonton. Speaking to the media postgame, he said:
"“Definitely (there’s) momentum in our room. I think we can feel it. I think we’ve liked what we’ve seen over the last three (games) and it’s something to build off of.”"