Connor McDavid scored and added two assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames Saturday night in the final game between the Alberta rivals this season.
Ethan Bear, Josh Archibald and Darnell Nurse — the last two into the empty net — also scored for the Oilers (30-17-2), who finished with a 6-4 record against the Flames.
Leon Draisaitl assisted on all four goals while Mike Smith made 29 saves for his 18th win.
Johnny Gaudreau found the back of the net for the Flames (22-25-3), who lost ground in the divisional playoff race. Goalie Jacob Markstrom stopped 25-of-27 shots in defeat.
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It was another critical game for Calgary, who are eight points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division. The Habs came from behind to defeat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in overtime earlier Saturday.
But with the loss, time is running out for the Flames, who have six games left this season beginning with a contest against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.
Down 2-1 in the third, Calgary pressed for the equalizer while playing carefully enough to avoid conceding again. But Smith stopped all 11 shots he faced in the frame.
The two teams met on Thursday, with Calgary winning 5-3 on a pair of goals by Elias Lindholm.
The Flames took pride in keeping McDavid and Draisaitl off the scoresheet in that encounter — something they’ve done three times this season — but it didn’t take long for Edmonton’s high-flying offensive duo to get off the mark on Saturday.
McDavid put the Oilers in front 1-0 with an end-to-end play at 4:46 of the first on the power play. Starting behind his own net, the Edmonton captain fed Draisaitl in the neutral zone before getting the pass back at the blue line. McDavid then charged past two defencemen, dangled the puck in front of Christopher Tanev and snapped it high past Markstrom for his 29th on the year.
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The Oilers doubled their lead a few minutes later with McDavid turning provider. A good cycle play in the offensive zone ended when McDavid found Bear at the side of the net. Bear’s one-timer, which may have taken a slight deflection off Nikita Nesterov, beat Markstrom stick side at 7:19.
McDavid nearly scored another in the second period, on the power play, but he didn’t get everything on a shot that was stopped by defenceman Michael Stone on the doorstep.
Calgary’s Gaudreau was denied a great chance to get on the board early in the second when his shot on the breakaway beat Smith but rang off the crossbar.
Gaudreau wouldn’t be denied later in the frame, though, when he extended his point streak to seven games with a tally at 10:48. Matthew Tkachuk powered his way to the net and fired a shot on Smith, who kicked it with his pad right to Gaudreau on the rush for the back-handed rebound. Gaudreau has 12 points in his past 10 games.
Archibald scored the first empty-netter for Edmonton with 1:06 left in the game. Nurse added the other 40 seconds later.