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GAME STORY: Oilers 3, Jets 2

McDavid records his 500th point, Draisaitl delivers a pair of goals as Edmonton edges Winnipeg to split the two-game series

by Ryan Frankson / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Connor McDavid recorded his 500th career point and Leon Draisaitl scored twice as the Oilers edged the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 on Wednesday.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game vs WPG 02.17.21

FIRST BLOOD

The Oilers wasted no time taking a 1-0 lead and getting McDavid his 500th career point at the 3:45 mark as the captain sprung Jesse Puljujarvi in alone on Connor Hellebuyck and the Finnish forward unleashed an absolute snipe past the goalie's blocker for his fourth tally of the season and fourth in the last six games. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also assisted on the highlight-reel play.

PLAY OF THE GAME

Just 21 seconds after Puljujarvi's opening goal, Draisaitl extended the Oilers lead to 2-0 early in the first period with a brilliant display of speed and skill. The reigning league MVP exploded through the neutral zone and Tyler Ennis found him with a perfectly-placed pass from along the wall. Draisaitl burst into the attacking zone and rifled a wrist shot inside the far post on Hellebuyck for his ninth of the season and first of two goals on the night.

SAVE OF THE GAME

Mike Smith made a point-blank save on Mathieu Perrault on a Jets power play early in the third period and then smothered the loose puck as the opposition swarmed the crease, leading to a melee in the corner. The clutch denial kept Edmonton up by one and the veteran netminder finished the night with 33 saves for the win.

TURNING POINT

Draisaitl's second goal on the power play late in the middle frame held up as the game-winner and provided the Oilers with some much-needed breathing room at the time, which they would end up needing in the third after Neal Pionk netted Winnipeg's second goal.

Video: POST-RAW | Leon Draisaitl 02.17.21

TOP PERFORMER

With his two-goal performance, Draisaitl became the fifth player to hit double digits in tallies this season with 10, taking over the team lead from McDavid, and putting him four back of Toronto's Auston Matthews for top spot in the NHL. Both he and McDavid recorded two points on Wednesday as they remain one-two in the scoring race with 28 and 32 points, respectively.

FACT CHECK

With his first-period assist on Puljujarvi's goal, McDavid tied Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby for the fewest games to reach the 500-point milestone among active players at 369. The two superstars are also tied for the eighth-fewest games to hit the 500-point milestone in NHL history. Washington's Alex Ovechkin is the only other active player to reach 500 points in less than 400 games, doing so in 373. Oilers legend Wayne Gretzky, of course, has the all-time record, scoring his 500th point in his 234th career game.

Video: POST-RAW | Connor McDavid 02.17.21

NEXT UP

With the two-game series against the Jets now complete, the Oilers set their sights on the second and third instalments of the Battle of Alberta this season, occurring on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday. The first game will be contested in Calgary and the teams will head back north to continue the heated rivalry in Edmonton on Hockey Night in Canada.

PARTING WORDS

"It's a little milestone, a little thing along the way here which is nice," McDavid, always humble, said of his 500-point achievement. "To feel some of the reaction from my teammates and friends and family is always special. I really appreciate the support."

"He's done it his entire career and he's going to continue doing it," Draisaitl said of McDavid's point production. "We talk enough about his on-ice performances and the way he plays, but I think what we're all most impressed by is the way he handles himself off the ice. He's such a humble kid and someone you can learn a lot from. We're very lucky, very fortunate to have a guy like that as our leader."

Video: POST-RAW | Dave Tippett 02.17.21

"There's been quite a few players to get to 500, but to do it as fast as he's done it and in the company he's done it with is pretty remarkable," Head Coach Dave Tippett said of McDavid's point milestone, though the bench boss also hit a milestone on Wednesday with his 600th career win.

"It just shows what a talent he is. I know he doesn't look at milestones like that very much, but I think later on in life he'll look back and be very proud of some of those milestones he's put forth. He still wants the team milestones ahead of the individual milestones."

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