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The Buzzer: McDavid leads Oilers; Rinne celebrates birthday with win

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Player of the Night: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers captain registered an assist in all three periods helping Edmonton to a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. After starting the night tied for 30th in NHL scoring, he now sits tied for fifth. According to the NHL, McDavid has now recorded at least three points in a game 17 times since the 2015-16 season.

Highlight of the Night:

Taylor Hall came this close to scoring an own goal in his return to Edmonton:

MISC:

• During their Hockey Fights Cancer night, the Oilers invited Brian Boyle to take part in the ceremonial puck drop before their game:

• The Oilers won 44 of 66 face-offs.

Adam Larsson‘s stat line: 1 assist, 3 SOG, 13 hits, 6 blocked shots, 23:07 TOI.

• Before he almost scored in his own net, Hall tallied his first goal against his old team:

• Five different Nashville Predators scored as they held off the Anaheim Ducks during a 5-3 victory. Pekka Rinne made 35 stops and assisted on P.K. Subban‘s empty netter to help celebrate his 35th birthday.

Scott Hartnell, who scored Nashville’s opening goal, suited up for the 1,200th game of his NHL career.

John Gibson had no chance on this Roman Josi laser:

• Nifty primary assist here by Derek Grant:

Factoid of the Night:

Scores:
Edmonton 6, New Jersey 3
Nashville 5, Anaheim 3

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

McDavid’s Donald Trump costume caused a stir on social media

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Oilers forward Connor McDavid caused a little bit of a stir on social media because of his Halloween outfit.

McDavid dressed up as United States president Donald Trump, while his girlfriend dressed up as first lady Melania Trump. The couple actually did a pretty good job with the costumes.

Clearly, it was meant to be a gag. As we’ve come to expect though, people all over social media had an opinion on McDavid’s costume selection.

So many hockey fans complain about players not being themselves or not showing more personality through social media platforms or during interviews. But a lot of those same people will criticize McDavid for a gag like this.

Unfortunately, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t want players to show more personality but then complain when they do it in a way you don’t approve of. Even those who prefer their favorite hockey players stay quiet don’t have to offended by this. It’s a gag, a joke, a costume.

The 20-year-old and his girlfriend are having innocent fun. Is all the anger towards them really justified? It’s a Halloween costume, so probably not.

The only reason this story turned political is because a small group of people made it that way.

Mr and Mrs Trump🇺🇸

A post shared by Lauren Kyle (@laurenkyle1) on

Come on, you have to admit that they pulled it off pretty well.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Crosby, McDavid focusing on teams, not 1-on-1 matchup

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — The fan in Connor McDavid comes out whenever he sees Sidney Crosby‘s familiar No. 87 on TV.

”When you’re watching, you’re hoping for him to do something cool,” the Edmonton Oilers star said.

Defending one of his childhood idols is another matter entirely. McDavid will get an up-close look when the Oilers visit Crosby and the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

”If you want to model yourself after someone, I think he’s as good a guy as you can get,” said McDavid, who has three goals and five assists through seven games. ”He’s won just about anything there is to win in hockey: individual awards, team awards. You name it, he’s got it. If you’re a young guy like me, that’s what you want to do with your career.”

While Crosby totally gets why sharing the ice with McDavid is a thing, he’d rather not talk about it.

”I think there’s always matchups, storylines and things like that … but we’re just going to go out there and play,” said Crosby, who has five goals and five assists.

At the moment, Crosby and the Penguins have more pressing matters than the hype that accompanies the biannual meeting between two of the NHL’s brightest lights.

The Penguins placed goaltender Antti Niemi on waivers on Monday just three games into his tenure as Matt Murray‘s backup, called up rookie Casey DeSmith from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes Barre/Scranton and acquired forward Riley Sheahan from Detroit over the weekend to address their need for a third-line center. The Oilers, meanwhile, are off to a slow start following their first playoff appearance in more than a decade.

Pittsburgh swept Edmonton last season, a testament to the depth around Crosby. Crosby was held without a point while McDavid had a goal and three assists in the two games.

”They were two really, really entertaining games,” McDavid said. ”Obviously you hope for that and hope for a better result.”

The 30-year-old Crosby and the 20-year-old McDavid are separated by a decade but little else.

They finished one-two in Hart Trophy voting last year, with McDavid and his league-leading 100 points edging Crosby and his NHL-high 44 goals. For a while last spring it appeared they were on a collision course for the Stanley Cup Final until the Oilers blew a 3-1 lead against Anaheim in the second round.

It’s not unlike the path Crosby and the Penguins followed shortly after he made his NHL debut in 2005. Pittsburgh reached the postseason in Crosby’s second year. The Penguins reached the Cup final in his third year. In his fourth, he raised the Cup with the franchise’s third championship.

”I can only speak of my experience, going to the final and losing was a really good experience for us as a group,” Crosby said. ”Going through that it’s something you learn through.”

The Oilers are hoping last spring can serve as a launching pad for McDavid, whose vision and speed make him a nightmare matchup for anyone tasked with trying to keep up. The responsibility will fall largely on Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang, who should see plenty of McDavid’s No. 97 on Tuesday.

”I just think what’s tough for a defenseman is sometimes a guy can go fast in a straight line and he doesn’t have his head up, he’s just worried about beating you wide,” said Letang, one of the fastest skaters in the league. ”This guy is like looking straight into your eyes and he’s going full speed so you’re like ”Oh (no), what is he going to do?”’

Asked to compare McDavid’s quickness to another player outside his own dressing room, Letang responded: ”No one is near that guy.”

Oilers coach Todd McLellan will try to find a balance between figuring out a way to steer his team out of its early funk while also appreciating the special talent on the ice.

”It will come down to team play but you do appreciate as a coach, a fan, even a player, their skill set and what they brought to their teams and their communities,” McLellan said. ”Even off the rink, both of them are tremendous that way. It’s fun when they’re together.”

Oilers, City of Edmonton make #SpiderMable’s wish come true

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In a wonderful gesture that echoed the Bay Area’s “Batkid,” the Edmonton Oilers and City of Edmonton teamed up to make one child’s dream come true on Monday.

The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada learned that Mable Tooke – or #SpiderMable – wanted to battle crime while she battles cancer.

The Edmonton Police beckoned Spider Mable by noting that Oilers captain Andrew Ference was “kidnapped” by the diabolical Mysterio.

The Ference family begged for her help:

Wisely, #SpiderMable loaded up for a big day with a tasty breakfast:

Who needs web-slinging when you have a SPIDER-LIMO?

Spider-Man pitched in to help, too.

You really can’t have a superhero without a sweet theme song, by the way.

Ultimately, #SpiderMable saved the day, and captured many hearts along the way. Here are some additional photos from the Oilers:

Awww.

McLellan: ‘You won’t hear us talk a lot about playoffs’

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The Edmonton Oilers haven’t made the playoffs since losing to the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, but new coach Todd McLellan is asking fans of the northern Alberta franchise to remain patient with the hockey club.

McLellan, who took over from Todd Nelson behind the Oilers’ bench, is part of a complete front office overhaul in Edmonton, which also includes GM Peter Chiarelli taking over from Craig MacTavish.

“It’s hard for us to go to our great fans here in Edmonton and across the country and ask them to be patient again because it’s been a while,” McLellan recently told Sportsnet’s Gene Principe. “With that being said, we also have to establish a foundation as a new group, a new set of coaches (and) new players coming in – a foundation that will allow us to be successful, not only for as much as we can right now, but also months down the road and years down the road.”

Edmonton finished last season with a 24-44-14 record good for 13th in the Western Conference and 28th overall. The Oilers surrendered a league-high 276 goals and were 26th overall in goals for (193).

Despite upgrades throughout the lineup, McLellan remains focused on the big picture.

“You won’t hear us talk a lot about playoffs (this season),” the 47-year-old said. “I know there will be a lot of conversations and questions asked of me and the players, but my answer is always going to be we’ve got to formulate the foundation and get doing things right before we can take that big step.”

Part of that foundation could include a new captain. Veteran defenseman Andrew Ference has worn the ‘C’ for the past two seasons, but the 36-year-old has had conversations with McLellan about his future as the club’s captain.

“I brought it up … I like things out in the open,” Ference told the Edmonton Journal in August per NHL.com. “I don’t like walking on eggshells or awkward moments, player to coach, player to GM. This isn’t a vanity project. We should want everybody pulling on the same rope for the Oilers.”

Ference scored three goals and 14 points while registering a minus-17 rating and averaging 18:53 a night in ice time in 70 games last season.

“I sat and talked to Andrew about that situation,” said McLellan “I felt that my relationship with him at that time was really strong, and you have to have that as a coach-captain situation.”

Related: Report: McDavid to live with Hall this season