July 24, 2024

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Connor McDavid’s play gives Oilers ‘a lot of confidence’

Connor McDavid’s play gives Oilers ‘a lot of confidence’

EDMONTON, Alberta — Connor McDavid thought the Stanley Cup Final would be more magical.

“You spend your life working to get into a situation like this,” he said Thursday before Game 6. “You get here and you expect there to be this magical feeling, but honestly, it was all pretty normal.”

McDavid’s performance in the playoffs has been anything but ordinary, even by the standards of the three-time NHL MVP. Through Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, McDavid did the following:

• Set a record for the most assists in a single season in the NHL (34).

• Recorded the fourth-highest individual postseason point total (42) of any player in NHL history, trailing Wayne Gretzky’s record by five points.

• Become the first player in NHL history to record consecutive four-point games in the Stanley Cup Final (Games 4 and 5).

• Scored 11 points in the final, two shy of Gretzky’s record of 13 set in 1988.

This is just a small sample of his statistical achievements.

McDavid has rescued the Edmonton Oilers from the brink, as they attempt to become the second team in NHL history after the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup after starting a series down 3-0.

Coach Chris Knoblauch said it was McDavid’s dominance that helped give his team the confidence to come back against the Florida Panthers.

“Sometimes you’re in the dressing room and you look at your leaders and you’re not sure if they’re ready to play. They’re nervous or struggling, and that puts a lot of doubt in your team,” he said. “But when you look at Connor McDavid putting together back-to-back four-point games, it gives your team a lot of confidence. Your best players do that. And when they’re ready to play, you’re like, ‘All right, we’re going to be OK.’ “I give confidence throughout the locker room.”

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Goaltender Stuart Skinner said that self-confidence extends off the ice.

“He has a lot of confidence in us. For me, personally, it gives me a lot of confidence if I let him in five times.” [goals] Or I get closure, he’s always in my corner. “He always supports me and tells me he believes in me. Plus, he always lets me win on the board when we play games,” Skinner said before smiling.

McDavid is now the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP, even though his team is not favored to win the Stanley Cup Final. But for the Oilers captain, the mission is not about breaking records or creating special moments.

“I don’t think you’re thinking about that,” he said. “Those things just happen. It’s a byproduct of preparation, all the work we put in throughout the regular season, all the work we put in during this run. Those moments are the product of players being prepared.” “There is no group more prepared for this moment than this group here.”

Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final is Friday night in Edmonton.