McDavid injures leg in Oilers’ finale, X-rays negative
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Connor McDavid gave the Edmonton Oilers a big scare in the team’s final game of the season.
McDavid left Edmonton’s 3-1 victory over Calgary on Saturday night after hurting his left leg. It appeared to be a serious injury, but the Oilers tweeted that X-rays were negative.
The next hurdle is an MRI, which the 22-year-old McDavid will have after traveling home with the team.
“You’re going between anger and rage and your heart’s broken for the guy,” Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock said. “So to get some good news right now, we can breathe for a few hours. MRI tells you everything, so we’ll hopefully get through the MRI. But we’re not out of the woods yet.”
McDavid was helped off the ice by teammate Zack Kassian and a trainer — putting no weight on his leg — after crashing into the Flames’ net early in the second period. He fell to the ice after being challenged by Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and then slid hard into the net. Giordano was penalized for tripping.
“That’s the best player in the game. I hope he’s OK,” said Giordano, the Flames’ captain. “I’ll reach out to him and hopefully get an answer, but it’s a 1-on-1. I’m trying to dive to chip the puck off his stick. It happened so quick.”
In hindsight, Giordano thought maybe he’d consider making a different play if he had the chance.
“Obviously, with the result being what it is, if I had to do it all over again, you’d almost want to see myself let him go and not injure him,” he said. “But that’s easy to say, after the fact.”
McDavid held his left leg for several minutes before being helped off.
“He’s our leader, he’s our go-to guy and when you see him get hurt like that, it stings.” Oilers teammate Leon Draisaitl said. “You never want to see that happen to any player, especially him.”
The crowd at sold-out Scotiabank Saddledome went quiet as McDavid was being attended to by trainers.
“I think that’s the respect factor. They know what kind of player he is. He’s an honest player,” Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “Everybody around the league, all fans, respect that and understand what he means to our team. I’d expect the same from our fans if it happened to another guy on their team in our building and I think everybody was a little bit shocked and just hoping for the best for him.”
McDavid was second in the league in scoring this season with a career-high 116 points, 12 behind Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov. McDavid’s 41 goals equaled his career best.
“It’s scary,” Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse said. “He’s the best player in the league. You see him go down like that, he’s not a guy that ever goes down and stays down. He always hops back up. The guy means so much to not only this team but the organization, the city. I think everyone kind of held their breath there.”
Draisaitl scored his 50th goal, and Nurse and Alex Chiasson also had goals for the Oilers, who have missed the postseason 12 times in 13 years.
Mark Jankowski scored for the Flames (50-25-7), who enter the playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference.
Calgary will face Colorado in the first round. The Flames will have home-ice advantage for the first time since 2006.
“It’s exciting,” Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic said. “You grind 82 games all year. We start the year in China. Here we are at this point and we’ve set ourselves up to be in the playoffs, and in the dance. Now we just have to go out and execute like we can.”
Edmonton took a 2-1 lead on the power play after McDavid’s injury when Chiasson poked a loose puck past Mike Smith after he had stopped Oscar Klefbom’s point shot.
Nurse gave the Oilers some insurance 5:21 into the third, holding the puck patiently on a 2-on-1 before firing a shot past Smith high on the glove side.
Edmonton opened the scoring at 10:55 of the first period when Andrej Sekera pinched down the sideboards and got the puck to Draisaitl, who wristed a shot past Smith for his 50th.
Draisaitl became the first Oilers player to reach 50 goals since Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri each did it in the 1986-87 season.
Calgary drew even five minutes later when Jankowski deflected Hamonic’s shot past Mikko Koskinen. Johnny Gaudreau had the second assist to get him to 99 points.
Gaudreau fell one point shy of becoming the first Flames player since Theoren Fleury in 1992-93 to record 100 points in a season.
NOTES: Koskinen finished with 30 saves. Smith stopped 22 shots. ... Calgary scratches included Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk. All three are expected to be in the lineup for the playoff opener. ... Calgary finished with 107 points, which is the second-highest total in franchise history, behind only the 1988-89 Flames, who had 117 points and went on to win the organization’s only Stanley Cup.
Oilers: Head into the offseason.
Flames: Take on Colorado in the opening round of the playoffs.