Wednesday, February 21, 2024
spot_img

NHL Star Power Index: Oilers’ Connor McDavid showcasing playmaking ability, Brayden Point scoring at will

Welcome to the NHL Star Power Index: A weekly gauge of the players who are controlling substantial buzz around the league. When a player is included on this list it may not be a good thing — it means that they are capturing a large amount of the hockey world’s attention.

These players are in no particular order when it comes to the amount of buzz that they’re creating. We’ll revisit the Star Power Index every week throughout the regular season.

As a whole, the Edmonton Oilers have encountered their fair share of struggles to start off the 2023-24 season. In recent games, though, star forward Connor McDavid has really begun to find his stride.

Over his last five games, McDavid has racked up 15 points, including 12 in just his last three contests alone. McDavid put together a sensational five-point performance in a 8-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. McDavid ended up recording a goal and dishing out four assists, making some history in the process.

McDavid registered five points for the ninth time in his NHL career to pass Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin for the most five-point performances by an active player.

The Oilers star recorded four-plus points in consecutive games for the second time in his NHL career after registering four assists in a 5-0 win against the Washington Capitals on Friday. McDavid joined Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Paul Coffey as the only players to achieve the feat in team history.

McDavid also joined Nicklas Backstrom, Leon Draisaitl, Sidney Crosby and Blake Wheeler as the only active players to record four-plus assists in at least six career games.

The Ducks received a pair of opening-period goals from forward Max Jones and held a 2-1 lead just over six minutes into the contest. At the 9:29 mark of the first period, McDavid began his historic outing when he scored his lone goal of the evening on a three-on-one opportunity in which he snapped the puck past Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal.

McDavid proceeded to showcase his skills as an incredible facilitator for the remainder of the contest. Late in the first period, McDavid won a face-off in the offensive zone and ended up getting the puck back on his stick. McDavid made his way into the slot, but dished off a beauty of a pass to a wide-open Zach Hyman for the goal.

The Oilers captain also assisted on Hyman’s second goal of the game at the 7:20 mark of the second period. McDavid earned the primary assist on three of his four assists, including when he set up a Leon Draisaitl power-play in the third period to put the game out of reach.

McDavid also registered a goal and two assists in a 5-4 shootout win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. While he didn’t become the first player in NHL history to tally four assists in three consecutive games, it’s still been quite the impressive stretch for the Oilers star.

While Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov has been playing out of mind lately, teammate Brayden Point hasn’t been too far behind from an offensive standpoint.

Point has registered five goals and two assists across his last four games, including a spectacular five-point performance (three goals and two assists) in a 8-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 24. 

Kucherov and Point made some history during the offensive explosion as they became the second pair of Lightning teammates to register five or more points in the same game. They joined Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, who did so on Dec. 7, 2006 against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Point recored his second hat trick during the month of November as he also tallied three goals in a 6-4 win against the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 4. After scoring just two goals in October, the veteran forward has really enjoyed a stellar November with a mind-boggling 10 goals to go along with 10 assists.

After assisting on a Steven Stamkos power-play goal early in the second period against the Hurricanes, Point got involved in the scoring action for the Lightning.

At the 5:54 mark of the second period, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman flipped the puck over to Kucherov in the face-off circle. Kucherov then used some incredible vision to feed the puck to Point in the front of the net. Point was able to corral the puck and deposit it into a wide-open net to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead.

Point’s goal marked the third consecutive power-play goal for the Lightning. The 27-year-old added two more goals in the third period, including another one coming on the man advantage. 

Point continues to have no problem putting the puck in the net as he’s tallied goals in three of his last four contests. If Kucherov and Point can continue to produce at this level, the Lightning will be a very tough out come playoff time.

As Filip Forsberg goes, so go the Nashville Predators.

That’s definitely been the case throughout the first quarter of the 2023-24 season. After all, Forsberg leads the Predators in points (27), goals (12), assists (15), power-play assists (8) and shots (87).

Forsberg has also registered three goals and three assists over his last four games, while tallying points in four of his last five. The Predators winger has racked up two multi-goal games in his last five contests.

The most impressive performance came in a 8-3 win against the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 24, when Forsberg tallied two goals and an assist. It marked Forsberg’s fourth two-goal game during the month of November.

At the 6:57 mark of the opening period, Forsberg got into the scoring column. Predators defenseman Jeremy Lauzon threw a shot on net from the point that Blues goaltender Joel Hofer initially stopped. However, Forsberg was able to dig the puck free and force it over the goal line to give the Predators an early 1-0 advantage.

Forsberg also added a goal late in the second period to extend the Predators’ lead to 7-2.

The veteran forward also tallied a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime win against the Penguins on Tuesday. Forsberg scored the game-winning goal just 14 seconds into overtime, marking his ninth career overtime goal to tie David Legwand for the most overtime goals in team history. 

The Predators have now won six consecutive games and are looking to climb in the Central Division standings. If Forsberg can continue to play at an elite level, this could certainly be a playoff team in 2023-24.

Fresh off being a Vezina Trophy finalist as the league’s top goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck is definitely finding his stride yet again in 2023-24.

After having some struggles to start off the season, Hellebuyck has been a force in the crease as of late. The Winnipeg Jets netminder has racked up a 10-5-1 record to go along with a 2.62 goals-against-average and a .908 save percentage. 

Hellebuyck has yielded two or fewer goals in each of his last four games, including a 3-0 shutout against the Florida Panthers on Nov. 24. In that contest, the American-born goalie stopped all 33 shots he faced in what was his first shutout of the 2023-24 campaign.

Most recently, Hellebuyck surrendered just two goals against the Dallas Stars in a game where the Jets offense couldn’t solve fellow goaltender Jake Oettinger on the offensive end of the ice. Hellebuyck didn’t face an abundance of shots as he turned aside 19 of the 21 that he faced. 

Hellebuyck has enjoyed a stellar month of November in which he’s registered a 2.34 goals-against-average and a .916 save percentage. 

Hellebuyck has developed into one of the top goalies the NHL has to offer. His presence in between the pipes could certainly be enough to help the Jets reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles

Newsletter

Subscribe to stay updated.