Sports News

McDavid to return for Oilers against Sharks

Connor McDavid will return to the lineup for the Edmonton Oilers against the San Jose Sharks on Monday (9:30 p.m. ET; TVAS, SNW, SNOL, NBCSCA).

The center has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury.

“I’m good,” McDavid said. “Everything has been feeling good and I’m good to go tonight.” 

McDavid, the Oilers captain, is third in the NHL with 130 points (31 goals, 99 assists) in 74 games this season, behind Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche (138 points; 51 goals, 87 assists in 81 games) and Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning (141 points; 43 goals, 98 assists in 79 games).

“This was not a ‘let’s just sit out games to sit out games,” McDavid said. “There was obviously something there, it was bugging me and I was sitting out to feel better. This was not a matter if it was playoffs or not, or whatever. Thankfully we’d clinched a playoff spot, and I had something bugging me and I needed to get it right.

“I think it’s a balance of everything. A balance of healthy, of making sure you’re ready to go and your game is where it needs to be. Going 20-plus days between games is not really an option for me, so I’ll get one in here today.”

McDavid will play between left wing Adam Henrique and right wing Zach Hyman against the Sharks. 

“It’s an exciting opportunity playing on the wing with him,” Henrique said. “Watching his game from up close has been pretty eye-opening, so to get an opportunity to play with him is pretty cool.”

The Oilers (48-25-6) are five points behind the Vancouver Canucks for first in the Pacific Division with three games remaining. Vancouver has two games left.

McDavid had two assists in a 4-2 win at the Calgary Flames on April 6, but left the game with 2:33 remaining in the third period following a 33-second shift. He was taken down driving to the net by Flames forward Blake Coleman and headed straight to the bench after getting up and taking a shot. 

Edmonton defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 5-1 on April 10 without McDavid, then lost 3-2 in overtime to the Arizona Coyotes on April 12 and 3-1 to the Canucks the next night. He missed two games earlier this season when he sustained an upper-body injury in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 21. The Oilers lost 7-4 at the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 24, and 3-0 to the New York Rangers on Oct. 26.

“We were very cautious with this and we didn’t want it to persist and get worse or just be a nagging thing that he had to play through,” Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. “We feel that he’s recovered, is good and shouldn’t have any regression.”

McDavid is one assist from becoming the fourth player in NHL history with 100 in a season, something only done by Wayne Gretzky (11 times), Mario Lemieux (1988-89) and Bobby Orr (1970-71).

“It’s another nice round number,” McDavid said. “Everybody likes that. It would be nice.”

The Oilers conclude the regular season with back-to-back games at the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday and the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. They’ve clinched home-ice advantage for the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Knoblauch said how much McDavid plays toward the end of the regular season will depend where the Oilers are in the division standings. The Canucks host the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.

“We’ll assess after tonight’s game,” Knoblauch said. “There’s a chance we can still get first in our division. Tonight’s game will have a huge impact on it, and also Vancouver’s next game.” staff writer Derek Van Diest contributed to this report

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button