3 reasons why the Oilers are the Western Conference’s hottest team in the NHL playoff race

Even if they aren’t in first place, the Edmonton Oilers could be the team to beat in the Western Conference during the NHL playoff race.

Mar 16, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) and Colorado
Mar 16, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) and Colorado / Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 4
Next

Edmonton’s one-two combo is the NHL’s hottest

Since the All-Star Break ended, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have far and away been the NHL’s best one-two combo. The two have often played alongside one another on the first line, and they have a combined 68 points since February 6th. 

McDavid, however, hasn’t been a top scorer, finding the net just five times in that stretch, good for just a 7.3 shooting percentage. But his 34 assists are by far pacing the league, with Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning sitting behind him with just 21 in that same timeframe. 

Draisaitl has also recorded more helpers than goals by a near 2-1 margin, finding the net just 10 times while recording 19 assists. But remember, the Oilers have 71 goals in those 20 games between February 6th and March 17th, good for 3.55 per contest. 

This means McDavid and Draisaitl, with a combined 15 goals in that stretch, have scored just 21 percent of the time. The dynamic duo is moving the puck well, finding the open linemate, and frustrating opponents. Should this approach continue in the season’s final month, don’t expect many teams to slow down Edmonton’s onslaught, led by two of the league’s best players.