Connor McDavid has returned to the Edmonton Oilers, and if his first game back on the ice in three is any indication, a run at the Pacific Division title is well underway.
In second place in the division, the Oilers head to Anaheim on Tuesday after McDavid collected a goal and two assists in a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. The game against the Ducks will be a prelude for Edmonton's showdown with the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.
McDavid had missed the previous two weeks, and six games, with a quad injury that occurred in a Feb. 8 game against the Nashville Predators. Getting his flow back with linemate Leon Draisaitl took just short of a full period as the duo hooked up on a power play against the Kings.
McDavid dropped off a pass to Draisaitl, who returned the puck to McDavid, whose blast from the faceoff spot in the right circle was too hot for Kings goaltender Calvin Petersen. It was McDavid's 31st goal of the season and first since Feb. 6 against the San Jose Sharks.
"I felt a little awkward at first but I settled in as the game went on," McDavid said. "It's all of it: timing, getting your legs. I think timing is the main thing. The game can feel a little bit weird when you've been sitting out for a bit, but I settled in."
Just as pleasing for the Oilers was their ability to rebound against the Kings on Sunday after consecutive defeats at home. Edmonton fell 2-1 to the Boston Bruins in overtime Wednesday and lost 5-3 to the Minnesota Wild on Friday.
"We just get back to working and there is no frustration from game to game," McDavid said about rebounding against the Kings. "Everyone comes in and is ready to work, (even) if things don't go our way the game before. I thought we did that (Sunday)."
The matchup between the Ducks and Oilers is the first between the teams since Nov. 10. The Oilers had an easy time in that one, earning a 6-2 victory also at Anaheim. McDavid had a hat trick in that one, finishing it off with two goals in the third period. Draisaitl had assists on all three McDavid goals.
The Ducks will enter off a heartbreaking 6-5 overtime defeat to the Golden Knights on Sunday. They trailed 5-3 and pulled goalie John Gibson with 3:15 remaining. Adam Henrique scored two late goals from there to tie it. Vegas won it in the extra period on a goal by Shea Theodore.
"We could've made a choice when it went to 5-3," Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins said. "We could've chosen to get through it and start thinking about our next game, or we could choose to dig in and fight on. Good on the group for making the right choice."
It ended up as the fourth consecutive defeat for the Ducks, who are 1-4-1 since their Feb. 11 game against the St. Louis Blues was postponed after the Blues' Jay Bouwmeester had a cardiac episode on the team's bench.
--Field Level Media