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There was no standing ovation when it happened.
There was no moment to inform 18,910 fans that they’d witnessed history — that Connor McDavid had matched Sidney Crosby as the eighth fastest player to reach 500 points in Game 369, of their modern day NHL careers.
There was a lot involved in the Edmonton Oilers bounce-back 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets including two goals and the 450th point produced so far in the career of Leon Draisaitl as well as Dave Tippett becoming the 21st NHL coach to reach 600 wins.
But in the end, the thing that had to strike you was that fans were not able to be there to share the moment and unable to leave Rogers Place saying “I was there.”
It was one of those frequent nights of huge importance in this year’s 56-game Canadian Division standings.
The victory gave Edmonton seven wins in their last nine games and sent the Oilers to Calgary for the back-to-back Friday-Saturday home-and-home series with the Flames with momentum.
But despite everything involved, there was nothing that was going to prevent this night from first and foremost belonging to Connor McDavid.
No. 97 took care of history early enough when he sent a pass through three sticks to set Jesse Puljujarvi up to make it 1-0 at 3:45 of the first period.
It was Draisaitl, who would make it 2-0 a mere 21 seconds later, that retrieved the McDsvid puck from the net to bring it back to the bench for trainer T.D. Forss to put white tape around the circumference of the disk to identify it as point No. 500 of his career.
And it was Draisaitl who took the between-periods Oiler player two-question TV hit in McDavid’s place and volunteered: “He’s our leader. He’s our go-to guy.”
At the end of the game, Draisaitl was first on the Zoom interview session and picked up where he’d left off on TV.
When asked about how he views what McDavid has done in such a short amount of time, Draisaitl embraced the question.
“It’s incredible. He’s done it all through his career and he’s going to continue doing it. I think we talk enough about his on-ice performances and the way he plays but I think what we’re most impressed by is the way he handles himself off the ice. We’re very fortunate to have a guy like that as our leader.”
Goaltender Mike Smith was served up next.
“Unbelievable! It’s honestly been a pleasure to be a part of it these last two years and see the growth he has had in his game and to just see the work he puts in and how he continues to get better.
“His speed is incredible. The way he can change directions. What’s really impressive to a goalie who has played against him is that he speeds up when he has the puck. That’s something that is just tough to do. It’s pretty incredible that he seems to be faster when he has the puck than when he doesn’t.
“Every game you see him live there’s just something he does like tonight when you shake your head and say ‘Wow. Did you see that?”
And there it was again. It wasn’t one of those fabulous fun fan games like Monday’s 6-5 Winnipeg win. But what a shame season ticket holders couldn’t be at this game.
McDavid’s reaction was classic McDavid.
“It’s a little milestone I guess. It’s a little thing along the way here that is nice. And to get the reaction from my teammates and friends and family is always something special.”
When it was pointed out to him that with each 100 points he’s put up, it’s taken fewer games, McDavid reaction was surprising.
“I’m definitely getting more comfortable in my skin and figuring things out. I think the game has maybe been trending a little more to offence than when I first entered the league so that maybe plays a role into it,” said the just-turned 24-year-old.
Tippett was asked about McDavid’s “nice little milestone” quote.
“What it says to me is that there are a lot of players who have made it to 500 but to do it as fast as he’s done it and the company he’s done it with is pretty remarkable. It just shows what a talent he is. I’ve seen a lot of things in the stats that I keep and I’ve never seen anything like it in the stats that I keep. Not even close.
“I know he doesn’t look at milestones very much but I know that some day he’ll look back and be very proud of the milestones. And I know he still wants the team milestone more than the individual milestone so that’s what he’s striving for.”
Tippett had one final observation.
“The games are really intense right now and the game really misses the fans right now. You can tell the players miss the fans. I miss the fans.”
The fans, I’m sure, missed sharing Connor McDavid’s milestone moment with him and each other Wednesday. And you know they’re going to miss these Friday-Saturday back-to-back Edmonton versus Calgary games that are on deck.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021