5 things we learned in the NHL: The McDavid Effect

Jordan Eberle scored twice and added an assist for the Edmonton Oilers, who started their four-game road trip with a 7-2 beating of the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.

The Oilers pulled off a second consecutive lopsided win, a pair of Panthers reached milestones, Toews is captain consistency, there’s no question who’s No. 1 in Detroit, and more in five things we learned in the NHL.

The McDavid effect

Two games, two wins, 12 goals.

The Edmonton Oilers are certainly enjoying the return of Connor McDavid. The Oilers handed the struggling Ottawa Senators a 7-2 loss Thursday night.

McDavid picked up assists on two first-period goals by Jordan Eberle to give him five points in two games since returning to the lineup following a three-month absence with a broken clavicle. All that McDavid for Calder talk is starting to sound less and less far fetched. Especially when you look at it from a points per game perspective.

Current Calder Trophy favourite Artemi Panarin of the Chicago Blackhawks is scoring at a 0.87 point per game clip. The Sabres’ Jack Eichel holds a 0.69 mark, and the Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin sits at 0.67. There’s certainly an argument to be made, but it’s way too early to rule out McDavid making a legitimate run at the rookie scoring lead. He’s that good.

Of course, it wasn’t all McDavid Thursday night. Eberle had a game, Cam Talbot made 36 saves, Leon Draisaitl added a goal and an assist. Oh, and Darnell Nurse laid an absolute beat down on Max McCormick in the third period. His father Richard Nurse, a former wide receiver with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, enjoyed his son’s punching performance very much.

Luongo, Jagr reach milestones in Panthers’ win

Luongo made 35 saves in the Florida Panthers‘ 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings Thursday. The win, the 424th of Luongo’s career, pushed him past Tony Esposito into seventh on the NHL’s career wins list.

Jaromir Jagr got in on the milestone-reaching action, too.

Jagr set up Brandon Pirri at 8:30 of the first period to open the scoring, notching the 1,100th assist of his career. He added another assist just over midway through the first frame on Vincent Trocheck‘s 16th of the season.

The 43-year-old superstar potted career goal No. 738 early in the third period to move within three of Brett Hull for third on the NHL’s all-time goals list.

Auto-Mrazek for the people (of Detroit)

Petr Mrazek is the Red Wings’ No. 1 goaltender. Jimmy Howard, who held that title for six season, continues to take a semi-regular turn in the schedule.

Maybe it’s Mrazek’s relative lack of experience. Maybe it’s the three years at an average annual value of $5,291,666 left on Howard’s contract…whatever the case, Mrazek has made his case to carry the bulk of the work between the pipes in Detroit.

Thursday night’s loss to the Panthers was Howard’s seventh straight. It goes beyond his win-loss record, too. Howard sports an .885 save percentage his last eight starts (he escaped a decision in a Dec. 22 loss after he was pulled.)

Elsewhere in once great goaltenders who are having a rough go, Nashville PredatorsPekka Rinne allowed six goals on 19 shots in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. The all-star and former Vezina Trophy finalist surrendered three goals on five shots in the first period alone.

Rinne was hot heading into the all-star break, picking up a win in three of his last four starts and boasting a .961 save percentage. The Predators need him to be good. He was not on Thursday.

Toews is captain consistency

Jonathan Toews scored twice, including the overtime winner, in the Blackhawks’ 5-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes Thursday.

It was Toews’ fifth overtime winner of the season, which pulled him even with one of the league’s premier snipers for an NHL record.

The Blackhawks captain is nothing if not consistent.

Marchand scored a beauty

Don’t let that reputation as a pest understate what Brad Marchand brings to the table. He’s a helluva a hockey player.

Marchand has scored 21 or more goals in every full season he’s played in the NHL. He totaled 18 in 45 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, too. Beyond the goal totals, Marchand carries 56.3 per cent Corsi for and a 61 per cent goals for marks for his career.

He put his skill on display in a third period solo effort to pull the Boston Bruins even with the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night. Ryan Spooner sealed the Bruins’ 3-2 victory in the shootout.

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