Connor McDavid is ascending to a new level of greatness during the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, recording six goals and 19 assists thus far, as he has led the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-1 series lead over the Calgary Flames in Round 2 after a 4-3 first-round victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
With 25 points, the Oilers’ captain tied for the fourth-most points all-time through the first 11 games in an NHL playoff year. The only names ahead of McDavid on that list are the two greatest players of the last 40-plus years, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.
But as awesome as his numbers are, McDavid is not the Oiler most likely to set new records this postseason. That distinction goes to linemate Evander Kane, the mid-season free-agent acquisition, who has scored an NHL-leading 12 goals this postseason.
Here’s a look at what Kane has already achieved, and the milestones he’s well on his way to reaching as Edmonton continues its drive for the Stanley Cup.
Most Goals in a Postseason
Having lit the lamp a dozen times this postseason, Kane is already tied for the 13th most goals in a single playoff year in Oilers history. With his next goal, he’ll move into a tie for 10th, and he’s a hat trick away from a share of fifth place.
With 19 goals in the 1985 Playoffs, Jari Kurri holds the Oilers’ record and shares the NHL record with Reggie Leach (19 goals in 1976 with the Philadelphia Flyers).
Kurri played 18 games in 1985, and at Kane’s current postseason pace, he would also have 19 goals by Edmonton’s 18th game. Leach needed just 16 games to score 19 times for the Flyers.
Kane Has Most Goals in First Two Rounds
While his team is only four games into Round 2 against the Flames, Kane already has the most goals by an Oiler in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
That stat does come with an asterisk, as opening-round series were a best-of-five until 1987 (Edmonton’s ninth season in the NHL). However, if looking at goals scored through the first 11 games of the postseason, only once has an Oilers player recorded more than Kane’s dozen: Mark Messier, who had 14 after 11 games in 1983.
Chasing Kurri for Most Hat Tricks
When he scored three times in Edmonton’s 4-1 Game 3 victory over the Flames on Sunday (May 22), Kane became the fourth Oilers player to record multiple hat tricks in a single postseason, joining Kurri (four in 1985), Messier (three in 1983) and Gretzky (two in 1985, 1983 and 1981). Kurri’s four hat tricks in 1985 are an NHL record.
Of note, Kane’s three goals on Sunday came in a span of six minutes, making it the seventh-fastest hat trick in NHL playoff history, and second fastest by an Oiler (the fastest was Petr Klima, who scored three times for Edmonton in 5:13 in Game 2 of the 1991 Campbell Conference Final against the Minnesota North Stars).
Kane Tied for Most Multi-Goal Games
One of the more stunning stats about Kane’s goal total is that he has scored in less than half of Edmonton’s playoff games so far. He either doesn’t score, or he scores more than once, which he has done five times (two hat tricks, three two-goal games), tying Kurri for the Oilers record for most multi-goal games in a playoff year. Kurri had established the record in 1985 when the Oilers won their second Stanley Cup championship.
Should he add another multi-goal performance to his 2022 Playoff game log, Kane would not just set a new Oilers franchise record but move into a tie for the NHL record. That mark is currently shared by Mike Bossy and Lemieux, who had six multi-goal games in 1981 for the New York Islanders and 1992 for the Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively. Both Bossy and Lemieux led their team to the Stanley Cup in those years.
1 Away from Most Empty Net Goals in Oilers History
Kane secured victory for Edmonton over the Flames in Game 4 at Rogers Place on Tuesday (May 24), when he fired the puck into a vacant Calgary net with just over a minute remaining, making the score 5-3 Oilers. It was his second goal of the night and second empty-net goal of the postseason, tying Kurri (1985), Gretzky (1985, 1988), and Kent Nilsson (1987).
Kane’s next empty-net goal will set Edmonton’s franchise record and move him into a five-way tie for second in NHL history. Detroit Red Wings great Henrik Zetterberg currently holds the NHL record for most empty goals in a playoff year, potting four in 2009 when Detroit reached the Stanley Cup Final where his team was beaten by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
If one didn’t already fully appreciate Kane’s astonishing goal tally, it becomes clear just by the names he is now keeping company with, Bossy, Gretzky, Kurri, Lemieux and Messier – all Hall-of-Famers, all champions, all from an era when goal-scoring was at its highest.
The 30-year-old Vancouver product could just be getting started too. Edmonton’s playoff run may not even be halfway over yet, and at a bare minimum, the Oilers will play three more times. Who knows what kind of history Kane could make in that span. Oil Country will be watching with great excitement as the Oilers attempt to close out their series against the Flames when they visit Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome for Game 5 tonight (May 26).
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.