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Oilers' McDavid: 'By no means are we dead in the water'

Paul Swanson / National Hockey League / Getty

Edmonton has started to return to form during its current two-game winning streak, but captain Connor McDavid knows the Oilers still have their work cut out for them if they want to reach the level of their dominant 2022-23 team.

"We're a long ways from that," he told Sportsnet's Gene Principe after Edmonton's 8-2 shellacking of the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. "We're just taking it one day at a time. I look back to last year, we were 10-10 after 20 (games). We're five points back of that. Not ideal, but certainly by no means are we dead in the water."

The Oilers are in seventh place in their division with a 7-12-1 record and are 14 points behind the Vancouver Canucks for third place in the Pacific. If the playoffs started today, Edmonton would miss out on the second wild-card spot by six points.

Last season, McDavid and Co. were fifth in their division when they hit the 20-game mark and were only four points back of the Los Angeles Kings in the No. 3 spot. The Oilers went 40-13-9 the rest of the way to finish in second place in the Pacific.

Edmonton will hope its strong showing against the Ducks on Sunday can be a springboard for another remarkable turnaround. The Oilers trailed two separate times in the opening frame but entered the first intermission with a 4-2 lead.

"It's something that we've been missing throughout the year, so good to see a little bit of resilience there," McDavid remarked.

Edmonton scored twice in each of the next two periods to complete the rout, with McDavid's five points leading the way offensively.

Just one week ago, Leon Draisaitl bemoaned his and McDavid's uncharacteristic scoring slumps, but the latter has since woken up. McDavid's outburst Sunday came just two days after he factored in all but one of the Oilers' goals during their 5-0 win over the Washington Capitals.

The 26-year-old has racked up nine points in his last two games and 12 in his last four contests, raising his total to 25 points in 18 games this campaign. He's just 10 points behind Nikita Kucherov for the NHL scoring lead.

"Confidence is obviously a big part of it," McDavid said. "I think our whole team is playing better, and I think that's why you're seeing guys start to have success.

"It's not just a light switch that one guy or two guys can just turn on. It takes a whole group, and I thought our group's been playing better of late."

The Oilers will try and win their third game in a row Tuesday against the Vegas Golden Knights.

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