VANCOUVER — Connor McDavid He scored his 40th goal of the season and had an assist for the Edmonton Oilers in a 4-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday.
With 40 goals in 48 games, McDavid became the fastest active player to reach the mark, passing Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, who scored 40 goals in 49 games last season. McDavid, who also extended his point streak to 10 games (eight goals, eight assists), is the fastest player to score 40 goals since Pavel Bure also did it in 48 games with the Florida Panthers in 1999-2000.
“I’ve seen a lot of his highlights, and he skated like the wind and scored some beautiful goals,” McDavid said of Bure. So to be in the same breath as him, you’re obviously doing something good.
Zach Hyman had a goal and three assists, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and two assists, and Stuart Skinner made 27 saves in his first start since Jan. 9 for the Oilers (27-18-3), who extended their winning streak to a season-high six games.
“Whether it’s on the score sheet or playing physical, or blocking a shot or being solid defensively, I think we’re getting contributions up and down the lineup,” McDavid said. “And then a little maturity. We found ourselves in some tight games and are finding a way to close them out, and that’s a big part of winning.”
Video: [email protected]: McDavid scores on the breakaway for 40th
JT Miller and Andrei Kuzmenko scored, Quinn Hughes had two assists, and Spencer Martin made 25 saves for the Canucks (18-25-3), who have lost seven of eight and 10 of 12.
After the game, Bruce Boudreau stayed on the bench and clapped as fans chanted “Bruce, there it is.” He then fought back tears in his postgame press conference while acknowledging that it was potentially his last game as coach for Vancouver.
“I just wanted to savor looking at the stands because who knows if I’m ever going to get this chance again,” Boudreau said.
“I don’t think I lost the room, just lost games. I just had 15 [players] come up to me, we’re all crying together, which is silly for us men to do sometimes. But I think they would have gone through a wall for me, and as a coach, that’s all you can ask for, quite frankly.”
McDavid put Edmonton ahead 1-0 on a breakaway at 1:26 of the first period, shooting under Martin’s left pad after receiving a stretch pass from Hyman.
“No surprise,” Hyman said of McDavid. “I think everybody knows what he’s capable of. He’s a pass-first guy, but he’s shooting more and he’s scoring more, and I think it’s a credit to him for working on it. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
Hyman made it 2-0 at 8:31, converting a pass from McDavid on a 2-on-1 during a power play. Hyman, who has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) on a five-game point streak, has an NHL career-high 56 points (24 goals, 32 assists) in 47 games this season, two more than he had in 76 games. last season, his first in Edmonton.
“He’s doing a lot of really good things and he’s obviously feeling it offensively as well,” McDavid said. “You obviously notice how hard he works and if you’re playing against him, it’s a tiring night just because he’s like a dog on a bone on the puck. That’s the biggest thing he jumps out playing with him.”
Video: [email protected]: Hyman directs McDavids pass in for PPG
Skinner, who took a personal leave for the birth of his son, Beau, on Jan. 14, made his best save when he extended his blocker while sliding across the crease to deny Lane Pederson on a 2-on-1 at 3:24 of the second period.
“It was important for him,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “He’s had a lot going on in his world, but he was able to focus and come up with a big win for us.”
Leon Drisaitl extended the lead to 3-0 at 9:26 of the second, finishing a pass from Hyman on a rush with a quick shot through Martin. Draisaitl has 11 points (six goals, five assists) during a six-game point streak.
Video: [email protected]: Draisaitl fires home a shot on the rush
Kuzmenko made it 3-1 at 16:46 on a breakaway before Miller cut it to 3-2 at 3:26 of the third period, scoring through a screen from just inside the blue line.
Nugent-Hopkins scored into an empty net with 35 seconds left for the 4-2 final.
“We’re proud of the way we stuck with it and fought until the very end,” Vancouver captain Bo Horvat said. “We all really care about Bruce in here. He cares about every single guy in this room and whatever the fate may be, we’re always going to respect him as a person and as a coach.
“He’s done nothing but great things for us, so much respect for him. And he’s always going to be one of my favorites.”
NOTES: It was McDavid’s 239th multipoint game in the NHL. …Canucks defenseman Ethan Bear was a late scratch because of personal reasons. … Kuzmenko has five points (two goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak.