The Daily Press
McDavid scores twice, Oilers blast reeling Crosby, Pens 7-2
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers are running out of words to describe Connor McDavid. The Pittsburgh Penguins may be running out of time to salvage their season.
McDavid scored twice to push his total to a career-best 46 goals as the Oilers embarrassed Sidney Crosby and the Penguins 7-2 on Thursday night.
McDavid beat Tristan Jarry from in close in the first period and then used some dazzling stickwork to deke past backup Casey DeSmith on a penalty shot late in the third period. The 26-year-old added two assists to boost his point total to an NHL-best 109.
“I think it’s important that everybody takes a step back and understands that we’re seeing someone at the top of their craft in the prime of their career putting out there what he’s putting out,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “He does it day in and day out. He’s supported by a bunch of teammates that he loves to lead and that work hard for him. It’s quite impressive.”
Leon Draisaitl picked up 35th goal for the Oilers, who improved to 10-1-5 in their last 16 games. Ryan NugentHopkins had a goal and an assist to reach 600 career points. Warren Foegele, Kailer Yamamoto and Devin Shore also scored. Stuart Skinner stopped 22 shots but was rarely tested for most of the first two periods.
“Really consistent up and down the lineup for pretty much 60 minutes,” Shore said. “Played in their end more than we played in our end.”
Kris Letang scored early in the first and again late in the final minutes, but the Penguins were outclassed for long stretches in between. Jarry made 23 saves before being pulled after allowing six goals in two periods in his second start since returning from an upper-body injury that forced him to sit out a month.
“It’s frustrating right now,” Letang said after Pittsburgh’s fourth straight loss. “We’re not playing the way we’re supposed to play. We get discouraged pretty quick and it’s something we shouldn’t have in this dressing room and it starts with the main guys like me, (Crosby) and (Evgeni Malkin).”
While there are still seven weeks to go in the regular season, the franchise’s run of 16 consecutive playoff berths — the longest active streak in major North American professional sports — is in jeopardy thanks to a condensed schedule, an older and top-heavy lineup and little wiggle room for general manager Ron Hextall to maneuver.