Connor McDavid poised for new career high as Edmonton Oilers host Kings

Connor McDavid‘s next point will be his 109th of the season, which will set a new career high. But the Edmonton Oilers captain isn’t throwing any parties about his personal totals.

“Whatever,” he said Tuesday when asked about his impending milestone after the morning skate.

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The Oilers, who are seven points out of a playoff spot with seven games to go in the season, host the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night. The Kings are last in the Western Conference but beat the first-place Flames 3-0 Monday night.

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“They played well. They’ve been playing some good hockey,” McDavid said. “Pretty solid defensively, as they always are.”

Rookie Joe Gambardella is expected to start the game on the second line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Alex Chiasson.

“I feel really honoured. They’re two amazing hockey players,” said Gambardella, who has an assist in two straight games. “It took work to get there, and it’ll take work to stay there.”

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Head coach Ken Hitchcock grouped Gambardella with Josh Currie. Both men spent most of this season with the Oilers AHL farm team in Bakersfield, where they were top-level scorers.

“The NHL is creating separation. The NHL is a one-on-one league where you’re trying to find a two-on-one and you’re trying to create separation,” said Hitchcock. “When they first came up and until the last probably 10 days, they struggled in that element.

“Things are so much quicker up here, things are so much faster up here, that it takes time to create separation. Now you see them creating that separation.”

The Oilers expected lineup is:

Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian

Gambardella – Nugent-Hopkins – Chiasson

Rieder – Cave – Gagner

Lucic – Brodziak – Currie

Klefbom – Larsson

Nurse – Russell

Sekera – Benning

Koskinen

Catch the Oilers and Kings on 630 CHED with the Face-Off Show at 5:30 p.m. The game starts at 7 p.m.