Don’t look now but the Edmonton Oilers are starting to put together a little bit of a run in the Pacific Division since turning the team over to Ken Hitchcock.
Their 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night improved their record to 4-1-1 since the coaching change. This latest win featured another huge performance from team captain Connor McDavid as he logged close to 24 minutes of ice-time, recorded eight shots on goal, and scored his 14th goal of the season.
The goal was yet another highlight reel play to add to his already extensive library of highlight reel plays.
Have a look.
He just makes other NHL players look slow every single night.
The big thing about this game is it continued the trend that has been happening since Hitchcock took over where he has leaned heavily on McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to play as many minutes as possible. This was another game where they each played around 24 minutes, while they both played 25 minutes in Thursday’s 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Overall their ice time has spiked under Hitchcock. It is hard to argue with the results.
Thanks to this little hot streak the Oilers now sit just a single point behind the Golden Knights in the standings with two games in hand, while they are just one point out of a playoff spot in the Pacific Division (again, with games in hand on pretty much everyone they are chasing).
The team still has its flaws and areas that desperately need to be addressed before it can become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. But as long as it has McDavid and Draisaitl in the lineup and those two are able to carry the play for more than a third of the game it is going to at least have a chance to win on most nights.
That is at least progress over what they looked like earlier this season and most of the 2017-18 season.