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Oilers star Connor McDavid coming in hot against Blues

Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid didn’t enjoy seeing his team blanked 4-0 by the Los Angeles Kings Saturday night.

So he did something about it. McDavid earned a career-high six assists as the Oilers outgunned the Detroit Red Wings 8-4 Tuesday for their 18th victory in 20 games.

“He won us the game,” Oilers defenseman Cody Ceci said. “I think he was a little mad that he got shut out last game, and he showed it (Tuesday night). He came out with some fire and played unbelievably. I’ve never seen that before.”

The Oilers will try to ride that offensive wave into St. Louis to face the Blues on Thursday night.

They arrive with McDavid playing at the top of his game. He has eight goals and 21 assists in his past 15 games.

“I think his stats sheet says it all: six assists, plus-6, no power-play time and he was skating,” Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said after Tuesday’s win. “He was one of the few guys who was skating for a full 60 minutes, and the plays that he made were pretty phenomenal.”

But Knoblauch will want to see his team tighten up defensively against the Blues. After going 19 games without giving up four goals, the Oilers have done it in back-to-back contests.

“We were just standing and watching,” Knoblauch said. “The amount of odd-man rushes we gave up were the month of January all combined in one period. So, we got a little bit better at that. Obviously, the goal scoring was there tonight, but the defensive details need to be better.”

The Blues had won seven of eight games before falling to the host Maple Leafs 4-1 Tuesday night. Until they fell in Toronto, they had been winning with excellent special-teams play.

In their previous five games, the Blues were 7-for-18 on the power play and 12-for-14 on the penalty kill. Their special teams outscored the opponent in three of the five games. In the other two games, they were even.

Interim Blues head coach Drew Bannister believes his team ran out of gas in Toronto. The Maple Leafs outshot the Blues 32-15.

“We couldn’t find a lot of energy in our game,” Bannister said. “We weren’t moving our feet. With that, we weren’t able to recover any pucks. We lost every race to pucks, which forced us to defend more. We couldn’t get on the offence.

“We weren’t able to get pucks underneath to get to a forecheck. We ended up defending too much, so when we did try to get pucks underneath, we didn’t have enough guys. We weren’t connected. We just seemed like a team that didn’t have any energy.”

This will be the first meeting of the Oilers and Blues this season as they continue their bid to reach the playoff bracket. Through Tuesday’s games, Edmonton held third place in the Pacific Division and St. Louis sat in the second wild-card slot in the Western Conference.

Field Level Media

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