Golden Knights next in line to try and stop Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid became the 22nd player in NHL history to score 60 goals in a season when he tallied the game-winner in overtime in Edmonton's 4-3 victory over visiting Arizona on Wednesday.
And with 10 games still remaining, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that he could become the first player in 30 years to hit the 70-goal mark in a season.
But McDavid said his focus is on trying to help the Oilers (41-23-8, 90 points) continue their climb up the Pacific Division standings when they host the first-place Vegas Golden Knights (45-21-6, 96 points) on Saturday night.
"Big game for us," McDavid said after practice on Friday. "They've been playing really well since the All-Star break. If we want a chance to move up the standings, these are the teams we have to beat."
Edmonton, which has won five games in a row, trails the second-place Los Angeles Kings (41-20-10, 92 points) by two points through Thursday in the battle for home ice in the first-round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and is four points in front of the Seattle Kraken, who currently hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
"We're still 10 games away (from the end of the regular-season)," McDavid said. "A lot can happen. We are more focused on things that we can control, like our game, like our habits every day. We know if we go into the playoffs feeling pretty good, we are going to give ourselves a chance, and that's all you can ask for."
Still, the focus of the hockey world will be on whether McDavid can become the first player since Alexander Mogilny (Buffalo) and Teemu Selanne (Winnipeg) in 1992-93 to hit the 70-goal mark in a season. Mogilny and Selanne both had 76 goals that season.
"These things, they're nice but they're not what we're focused on," McDavid said of the milestones. "Obviously, we're focused on continuing to grow our game, get our game to where it needs to be heading into the playoffs. That's what is most important. If that stuff happens, it happens."
Vegas will be trying to complete a sweep of a three-game road trip through Western Canada that began with a 4-3 victory at Vancouver on Tuesday and continued with a 3-2 win at Calgary on Thursday.
The Golden Knights will be without All-Star goaltender Logan Thompson (lower-body) and winger Reilly Smith (lower-body), who both suffered injuries in the game against the Flames and returned home to Las Vegas. Defenseman Alec Martinez also will miss the contest because of personal reasons.
Thompson had just returned after missing six weeks with a lower-body injury and made 37 saves before departing with 6:07 remaining. Jonathan Quick finished up and stopped all five shots he faced.
"At first I thought he was slashed," Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. "I thought he was holding his hand or it was an equipment issue. to be honest with you. ... Hopefully, (the injuries to Thompson and Smith) are all short-term."
Whoever is on the ice will try and slow down McDavid, who is running away with the NHL scoring (138 points) and goal-scoring (60) titles and is riding a six-game multi-point game streak (six goals, eight assists).
"His speed separates him," Cassidy said. "McDavid reminds me of Bobby Orr, the way they changed the game with their speed and their ability to dominate."
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