Connor McDavid played 2:44 shorthanded in a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night. The Oilers captain also potted a shorthanded goal, showing off his elite speed and finish.
Killing penalties won't be a rarity for McDavid. Expect to see him out there a lot, even with the risk of stepping in front of pucks.
"The best players in the League penalty kill now," said Head Coach Todd McLellan. "You look at every team - Jonathan Toews kills, Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf is killing, Joe Pavelski kills. There's risk in it, but that's what you have in this game. Connor is going to kill this year, (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) is going to kill, Benoit Pouliot is going to kill. We'll take it as it comes."
As for handling McDavid on the PK, McLellan was asked if he gives any different marching orders with those top-end players. When it comes to coaching them up or telling them to be cautious, nothing changes.
"I bet you Connor will be the first one to tell you that if he's out there, he wants to play the right way and your captain needs to do that," said McLellan. "Am I pulling him aside and saying 'don't ever get in the shooting lane,'? No. He's going to have to play, he's going to have to play hard in every situation. That's what you do when you lead and everyone else has to follow. Is it a perfect scenario where you play injury free? No, but that's the league."
Seeing how dangerous McDavid can be on the penalty kill was exciting to his fellow killers.
"He's been good for us when he has killed," said Mark Letestu, who also had a shorthanded goal. "He obviously creates some offence. With Matty (Hendricks) going down, there's obviously some shoes to be filled, whether it's Connor or somebody else stepping up. He did a good job tonight, so I'd love to see him out there again."