EDMONTON — Connor McDavid matched the NHL's pre-eminent sniper Alex Ovechkin point-for-point Friday night in the first goal-scoring slugfest of his young NHL career.
The 18-year-old centre scored a power-play goal and added an assist for the Edmonton Oilers as they fell 7-4 to the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin finished the game with two assists.
McDavid said later the individual point totals were heartening but irrelevant.
"However that (stat-line) appears that's a good thing. But they won and that's all that matters," said McDavid.
It was the first time the Edmonton rookie faced off against Ovechkin and the Capitals and for the most part the Oilers No. 97 and Washington's No. 8 watched each other play from the bench.
Edmonton head coach Todd McLellan kept McDavid's line way from Ovechkin's, preferring to match it against his own top three of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Rob Klinkhammer.
McDavid went head-to-head with Nicklas Backstrom, who was flanked by Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson.
Ovechkin said McDavid made a good first impression.
"He is obviously a skilled guy. He needs more experience, but I am pretty sure he is going to be one of the top players in the NHL. He’s good," said Ovechkin.
McDavid recorded his assist in the first period to tie the game 1-1, breaking down the right side and floating the puck on the backhand to winger Nail Yakupov in front of the net. Yakupov fanned on it, but got it back behind the net and centred it to Benoit Pouliot for a one-timer goal.
McDavid was credited with the goal tying the game at three in the second period after he fired it off a cluster of bodies in front of the net and past Capitals' goaltender Phillip Grubauer.
It was a humbling evening at the other end of the ice for McDavid.
In the first period, he was outmuscled at the side of the Oilers' net by Marcus Johansson, who then tapped in a crossing pass to make it 3-2.
McDavid just got out of the penalty box in the second period as Edmonton let in a goal to make it 5-3. He was also on the ice for a four-on-four when the Caps made it 6-3.
McDavid finished the game as a minus-2 on the night while Ovechkin was plus-2.
McDavid now has five goals and eight points in the Oilers' first eight games which leads the team in scoring.
Ovechkin and McDavid are separated by a decade, and both were drafted first overall, Ovechkin in 2004 and McDavid this past June.
While McDavid is still racking up firsts in his first-go round in the NHL, Ovechkin is now hitting milestones.
Earlier this week he notched his 900th NHL point.
After being essentially shut down in the first four games of the season, except for one goal versus Dallas, McDavid has since been on fire.
"Each and every game it's going to get better and better and you're going to feel more comfortable," he said.
"There's going to be hard nights, too, as well. It's to be expected as a young guy in the NHL."