MONTREAL â€” Connor McDavid didn’t have a goal or even an assist but the Edmonton Oiler phenom’s 100th NHL game was eventful just the same.
He led all forwards with 20:43 of ice time, topped all players with six shots on goal and drew three penalties in the Oilers’ 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Leon Draisaitl’s shootout goal on Sunday afternoon.
But perhaps most interesting was that McDavid got booed at Bell Centre, starting in the first period when the sellout crowd of 21,288 got on him for what they felt was a dive when Shea Weber was called for what looked like a phantom trip in the neutral zone 8:40 into the game.
“I don’t mind it at all,” he said of the booing, but the 20-year-old was more upset with being thought of as a diver.
After the incident, Montreal’s Andrew Shaw gave him what appeared to be a slew foot and threw him to the ice, but that was not called.
“It wasn’t anything serious,” said McDavid. “They might have already had a penalty coming up there. It’s tough to call two on a play like that.
“I drew some penalties, which was good. A guy was getting on me a bit but it was definitely not diving. All three of those chances, I’m trying to make a play at the net and stuff ended up happening, but it was definitely not diving or anything like that.”
McDavid, the first overall pick of the 2015 draft who is considered the NHL’s great star, has 108 points in his first 100 games and seems to be getting better with each game. He is the league leader in assists (42) and points (60) after 55 games.
“He’s electrifying,” said teammate Milan Lucic. “For a lot of reasons â€” his speed, skill, his ability to finish and pass. I kind of compare him to Cristiano Ronaldo, of hockey. It’s been fun to play with him so far.”
The win helped Edmonton (29-18-8) end a three-game losing streak. It also let them end a three-game road trip with a victory despite scoring only one regulation time goal.
The Canadiens (30-16-8) are 1-3-1 in their last five games.
The five-minute overtime saw Montreal goaltender Al Montoya stop McDavid on a clean breakaway, while Cam Talbot managed to keep out a Weber blast at the other end.
The Oilers had a 30-20 shot advantage in regulation time and outshot Montreal 32-22 overall. Montoya has not lost in regulation in his last five appearances.
“He was unreal,” Weber said of Montoya. “He played one of his best games of the year for us and that’s why we had a chance to win it.”
McDavid drew a clear hooking call on Nathan Beaulieu at 12:42 when he sneaked off the bench to intercept an Alexander Radulov pass and break in on goal. Again the Edmonton power play could not connect.
Eleven minutes into the second frame, Weber wiped out at the blue line, sending McDavid’s line in on a three-on-one that was broken up on a clever move by veteran defenceman Andrei Markov.
McDavid drew yet another penalty at 14:46, with Emelin complaining that he went down too easily on a partial hook.
“Just like all the other top guys, you have to know what they’re good at and you’ve got to be aware when they’re on the ice,” Weber said of McDavid. “You know how quickly they can change momentum and change the game.
“He’s fast, but a lot of guys are fast. His hands are as good as his speed and he’s agile and shifty as well. Not only that but he’s got the mind for it. A lot of guys have one or two things, but he’s as close as it gets to having them all.”
It was a scrappy game without much end-to-end action until the third period and the overtime.
“It was hard to get pucks through the defence or find guys in the slot,” said Lucic. “A lot of clogged up area everywhere.
“I think both teams put the emphasis on their defensive game and that’s why it was so tight.”
The Oilers will now enjoy some days off before starting a three-game homestand Saturday against Chicago. The Canadiens get their five-day break next week.
Both teams were playing a third game in four days.
David Desharnais returned for Montreal after being sat out one game to play centre, with Alex Galchenyuk moved to left wing. Brian Flynn was scratched.
Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press