EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Connor McDavid is playing like he has his sights set on a second straight scoring title.
McDavid had two goals and an assist to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
”I’m just looking to finish out the season strong with the team and individually as well,” McDavid said.
The Oilers captain has six goals and seven assists in his last seven games, increasing his season total to 84 points – four behind league-best Nikita Kucherov (88) and one behind Evgeni Malkin (85).
”He’s the captain, he has all the talent in the world and I think he’s a little bit sour and a little bit bitter with how the year has gone,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said of McDavid. ”He’s not going to go away whimpering and when your leader does that, it forces everybody else to play their game.”
Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the Oilers, who have won three straight. Cam Talbot stopped 32 shots.
”It feels really good, especially against a team like that,” Talbot said. ”They’re playing some really good hockey right now and extremely well offensively. … To hold a team like that to one goal took the whole group. We played a heck of a game. Everyone is playing pretty well right now.”
Charlie Coyle scored and Devan Dubnyk had 24 saves for the Wild, who snapped a three-game winning streak.
”That wasn’t our game in the second period tonight,” Coyle said. ”We were turning pucks over and we weren’t skating and playing simple, which is our recipe for success. We kind of stopped doing that and fed right into their game.”
Neither team scored in the first 29 minutes until McDavid skated around Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter and knocked in his own rebound for his career-high 32nd goal of the season at 9:12 of the second period.
McDavid did it again on the power play with 8 minutes left in the middle period, staying on for a second shift and then sniping a shot in from the top of the circle with Milan Lucic screening Dubnyk in front. McDavid has 18 goals in his last 19 games after getting just 15 in his first 49 of the season.
The Wild pulled within one midway through the third when Coyle converted Tyler Ennis crisp pass through the crease for his 10th of the season.
Edmonton got some insurance with 3:35 remaining as Draisaitl scored a power-play goal while on a 3-on-1 break.
Nugent-Hopkins put the game away with an empty-netter with 2 1/2 minutes left for his 300th career NHL point.
Minnesota outshot Edmonton 12-5 in the scoreless first period.
NOTES: The Oilers have won the teams’ first two meetings, also winning 3-2 on the Wild’s home ice on Dec. 16. The teams their season series on April 2 in St. Paul, Minn. … The Oilers were without D Oscar Klefbom, who is expected to miss at least the next two games after undergoing what has been referred to as a minor procedure. … Out for the Wild was D Nick Seeler (illness).
Wild: Host Colorado on Tuesday night.
Oilers: At Calgary on Tuesday night.