Connor McDavid set a new career-high for goals in a season on Thursday with 45, and he has 23 games left to keep pushing that number through the stratosphere.
Naturally, McDavid didn’t settle for an empty-netter or some other anticlimactic goal to reach the mark. Instead, he showed the sort of skill that so few players can — intentionally banking one off the back of Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry from behind the goal line while in full flight.
Connor McDavid scores his 45th goal of the season!
He sets a new career high with 23 games still to play 👀 pic.twitter.com/55FzgvVnOW
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) February 24, 2023
McDavid leads Rocket Richard Trophy race, no one else is close for Art Ross
This already represents the fourth season where McDavid has scored at least 40 goals. He did so in 2017-18 and 2018-19 (both 41 goals) and last season (when he set that previous peak of 44).
With 23 games left, McDavid is in a strong position to score 50 for the first time. Knowing him, 60 is a lofty-but-not-impossible thought — he’s on pace for about 65 after Thursday's contest.
It’s not as though McDavid is sacrificing all of his playmaking to chase his first Maurice Richard Trophy, either. On top of his two goals on the night (he added another one late in the third on a penalty shot), McDavid also posted two assists to pad his league-lead in that category as well as the Oilers went on to crush the beleaguered Penguins 7-2.
Pittsburgh’s Twitter feed captured the spirit of getting lit up by McDavid & Co. with this anguished emoji:
McDavid now sits at 109 points (46 goals, 63 assists) in 59 contests this season. Before Thursday’s game began, McDavid topped the Art Ross Trophy race for points by a mile with 105, 20 ahead of Oilers teammate Leon Draisaitl. Nikita Kucherov ranked third with 80. Similarly, David Pastrnak began the night as one of the only threats to score more goals this season with 41.
Lately, McDavid’s been piling up milestones. In his last game, he became the fifth-quickest player to 800 career points.
— NHL (@NHL) February 24, 2023
He also only needed 56 games to pass 100 points in 2022-23. At this rate, McDavid is making history so regularly, statskeepers should probably be getting paid overtime.