BOSTON – The Boston Bruins shut down NHL scoring leader Connor McDavid. They kept Leon Draisaitl off the scoresheet, too. It still wasn’t enough to beat the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
The Oilers escaped a scare when McDavid limped off the ice late in their 3-2 win over the Bruins – minutes after Darnell Nurse scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:49 remaining.
McDavid returned, but was held without a point for just the seventh time all season. It was the first time since New Year’s Eve, when McDavid was scoreless and Draisaitl didn’t play, that neither registered a point.
“I can’t believe they didn’t get a point. I mean, they should get a point every night, right?” said goalie Stuart Skinner, who made 26 saves to snap Boston’s 10-game winning streak and deprive the Bruins of a chance to become the first team in the league to clinch a playoff berth this season.
“Our top dogs here, I think they did a unbelievable job defensively,” Skinner said. “They’ve been doing such a good job in our end lately and, obviously they’re still a massive threat offensively.”
McDavid struggled to the bench after a knee-on-knee collision with teammate Derek Ryan. But the two-time league MVP returned to help the Oilers hold on when Boston pulled goalie Jeremy Swayman for an extra skater in the final minutes.
Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said he didn’t see the collision, but was glad McDavid was able to return.
“My mind was on the play,” he said. “But he felt good enough to finish the game, so I felt good about that.”
Boston led 2-0 after one, but Evan Bouchard scored in the second and Ryan McLeod tied it six minutes into the third. Nurse scored the game-winner on a wrist shot past a screened Swayman to give the Oilers their fourth win in five tries.
“I just said to myself, ‘I’ve got to lock it down for the next 40 (minutes). And if I do that, it will at least give the guys a chance to win,’” Skinner said. “If I’m going to be honest, I was very excited after the game. … This one, this one feels really good.”
Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored, and Swayman stopped 19 shots for the Bruins (49-9-5), who could have set an NHL record as the fastest-ever to 50 wins.
McDavid leads the NHL with 54 goals – nine more than Pastrnak, who is second – as well as 70 assists and 124 points. Draisaitl is fifth in the league with 41 goals and second with 96 points.
It was the first time all season the Oilers won a game without either of them recording a point.
“It felt like a playoff game,” Woodcroft said. “In playoff games sometimes there’s a ‘saw-off’ between the best players on both teams and other people have to find ways to to contribute. If you look up and down our roster, we have numerous people that can find the back of the net and that’s what you need as you come down the stretch here.”
Oilers: Visit Toronto on Saturday.
Bruins: Host Detroit on Saturday.