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Marchand: McDavid 'one of the best players to ever play'

Steve Babineau / National Hockey League / Getty

Brad Marchand was highly complimentary toward Connor McDavid ahead of Thursday's matchup between the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers.

"What McDavid's doing in the league right now, it's truly incredible," Marchand told reporters. "Definitely one of the best players to ever play the game, and it's special to watch firsthand."

McDavid has led the NHL in scoring in four of the last six years but has taken his game to new heights this season, pacing the league with 124 points in 65 contests entering Thursday. He's a virtual lock to win his third career Hart Trophy.

Furthermore, McDavid is on pace for a staggering 157 points this season, which would be the most since Mario Lemieux racked up 161 - in just 70 games - in 1995-96.

"We only see him twice a year, but (we're) watching the highlights each night to see what he does," Marchand continued. "We're still fans of the game, and it's a lot of fun to witness history firsthand and be able to say we all played against him, so that's pretty cool."

Marchand also offered high praise for teammate David Pastrnak, whose 44 goals are second most in the league, though a distant 10 behind McDavid's 54.

"Pasta's having an incredible year, same thing, one of the best goal-scorers in the game. Just an incredible talent," he said. "So it's special when the two of them are on the ice."

Marchand is having a stellar season of his own. Despite returning early from offseason surgery on both hips, the 34-year-old has tallied 54 points in 54 games.

The puck drops at 7:30 ET at Boston's TD Garden, where the league-leading Bruins are seeking their 11th straight win.

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