CALGARY — The Edmonton Oilers believe they received relatively good news after Connor McDavid left Saturday’s season finale with a leg injury.
After a 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames, the Oilers said X-rays on McDavid’s left leg came back negative. He was scheduled to return to Edmonton on Saturday before having an MRI.
"X-rays were negative. Take him back home and do an MRI tomorrow on him and see if it’s anything different," Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "You’re going between anger and rage and your heart’s broken for the guy. 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 hurt early in the second period. Darting down the wing, McDavid had his feet knocked out from under him as he tried to cut around defenceman Mark Giordano. The Oilers captain slid hard into the goal post, his left leg taking the full brunt of the impact.
The sold-out Scotiabank Saddledome went quiet as he remained down for a few minutes before being helped off the ice by teammate Zack Kassian and a trainer, while putting no weight on his left leg.
"I think that’s the respect factor. They know what kind of player he is. He’s an honest player," said Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. "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 finishes second in NHL scoring, 12 points back of Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov. McDavid’s 41 goals equalled his career-best and his 116 points is a career high.
"It’s scary," said Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse. "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."
Giordano was penalized for tripping on the play.
"That’s the best player in the game. I hope he’s OK," said the Flames captain. "I’ll reach out to him and hopefully get an answer, but it’s a one-on-one. I’m trying to dive to chip the puck off his stick. It happened so quick."
In hindsight, Giordano said maybe he does it differently, but it’s a game of split-second decisions.
"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, but that’s easy to say, after the fact."
Leon Draisaitl, with his 50th goal of the season, Alex Chiasson and Nurse scored for the Oilers (35-38-9), who were eliminated from playoff contention for the 12th time in 13 years earlier this week.
Draisaitl is the first Oiler to reach 50 goals since Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri both did it in 1986-87.
Mark Jankowski scored for the Flames (50-25-7), who enter the playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference.
Calgary will face the Colorado Avalanche in the first round. The Flames will have home-ice advantage for the first time since 2006.
"It’s exciting," said Flames defenceman Travis Hamonic. "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.
Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen made 30 stops. Smith made 22 saves.
"The fun’s just about to start here. We’re looking forward to the playoffs and to get things going," said Johnny Gaudreau, who had an assist to finish with 99 points.
Gaudreau falls one point shy of becoming the first Flame since Theoren Fleury in 1992-93 to record 100 points in a season.
NOTES: Calgary scratches included Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk. All three are expected to be in the lineup for the playoff opener. … Calgary finishes 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.