DENVER (AP) — Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers want to be playing good hockey — their best brand of hockey — going into the post-season.
This definitely qualifies: The Oilers are on an eight-game winning streak and McDavid on a 15-game points streak.
Evan Bouchard scored a power-play goal 1:50 into overtime, Stuart Skinner stopped 28 shots and the Oilers keep rolling along, beating the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Tuesday night.
“If you can come in with a good feeling and play good hockey usually you get off to a good start” in the post-season, said Oilers defenceman Mattias Ekholm, who had a first-period goal. “So that’s the focus right now.”
Bouchard lined a shot past Alexandar Georgiev to set off a celebration. Moments earlier, Colorado defenceman Bowen Byram drew a penalty for hooking McDavid as the Oilers’ centre powered toward the goal.
McDavid assisted on the OT winner to extend his points streak and become the first player in NHL history to have three different points streaks of 15 or more games in the same season. He’s only had seven games where he didn’t register a point.
The Oilers remain in the chase for the Pacific Division title with one game remaining. They also extended their points streak to 14 straight games.
“We deserved the win in the end,” Ekholm said. “I thought we were the better team and that was obviously great to see versus a really good hockey club.”
A contest featuring two high scoring teams turned into a defensive showdown. It was no surprise, though, this game went into an extra period. Colorado won the previous two meetings this season in overtime.
Ben Meyers scored for the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche, who saw their five-game winning streak snapped.
Georgiev made 38 saves, including one on a breakaway by McDavid in the second period. Colorado remains in the driver’s seat for the Central Division crown with two games to go. With a point Tuesday, the Avalanche also wrapped up home ice in the first round courtesy of Minnesota’s loss to Winnipeg earlier in the night.
“Good hockey game. Big point,” coach Jared Bednar said. “Good effort from our team again.”
This could be a possible matchup down the line in the post-season. The Oilers and Avalanche met last season in the Western Conference final, with Colorado sweeping Edmonton. But this is a different Oilers squad. For starters, they added Ekholm at the trade deadline in a deal with Nashville.
“It’s obviously nice to put some doubt in their minds,” Ekholm said. “There’s a new story to be written.”
The Avalanche weathered a four-minute penalty in the second period when Devon Toews’ stick caught Zach Hyman in the mouth and drew blood.
The game featured five 100-point scorers, marking the first time that’s happened in 37 years, according to NHL Stats.
It was Meyers kicking off the scoring early in the first period when he was credited for a goal that went in off a skate. Just 36 seconds later, Ekholm tied the game off a pass from Ryan McLeod, who was activated from the injured list before the game.
“It really felt like a playoff atmosphere,” Skinner said. “I thought we did a great job just the way we handled it.”
QUITE A SEASON
McDavid is attempting to become the first outright leader in goals, assists and points since Wayne Gretzky in 1986-87. Only eight times has the same player finished as the league’s outright leader in goals, assists and scoring — Gretzky (five times), Phil Esposito, Gordie Howe and Howie Morenz.
Count Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen as impressed by McDavid’s offensive exploits.
“What he’s able to do, never seen anything like it,” Rantanen said. “I feel like he’s getting better, too. I don’t know if that’s possible, but I feel like he is.”
AROUND THE RINK
Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins played in his 800th NHL game. He became the fifth player in Oilers history to reach the mark for the franchise. … Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar missed his fifth straight game with a lower body injury.
Oilers: Finish the regular season Thursday by hosting San Jose.
Avalanche: Host Winnipeg on Thursday before closing out the regular season Friday at Nashville.
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Pat Graham, The Associated Press