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McDavid feels 'a little rusty' in preseason debut with Oilers

Center missed first four games while rehabbing left-knee injury

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Connor McDavid on Tuesday played his first game since injuring his knee in the Edmonton Oilers' season finale.

McDavid was held without a point but had two shots on goal in 20:38 of ice time, the most among Oilers forwards, in a 4-2 preseason loss to the Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Place.

"I felt a little rusty, but that's to be expected in the first preseason game," McDavid said. "It was nice to be out there, for sure."

McDavid did not need surgery after tearing the PCL in his left knee crashing into the net against the Calgary Flames on April 6. He had skated with the Oilers since the start of training camp but sat out their first four preseason games before being cleared by doctors to play against the Coyotes.

The 22-year-old center was on Edmonton's top line with Leon Draisaitl at left wing and Zack Kassian at right wing.

"He was up and going, he needed to get into a game just to get his mind right," Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. "He worked hard. Not much happening."

 

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McDavid had an NHL career-high 116 points (41 goals, 75 assists) in 78 games last season, second in the League to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov's 128.

"I was able to push myself like nothing happened, so I was happy about that," McDavid said. "Obviously, a game is a lot different than a practice, so it was good to get in one."

The Oilers have two preseason games remaining before their season opener Oct. 2 against the Vancouver Canucks. They play at the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday and at Calgary on Saturday.

Tippett said he will reevaluate Wednesday whether McDavid will play any more preseason games.

"At that point, it's up to coach and who he wants to see," McDavid said. "Obviously, I'd like to keep playing, but it's ultimately up to him and the lineup he wants to see."

Selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid has 372 points (128 goals, 244 assists) in 287 NHL games and was voted winner of the Hart Trophy as NHL most valuable player in 2016-17.

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