By now, everyone in the hockey universe has seen Connor McDavid’s otherworldly goal from Friday multiple times. It is just not possible to watch it only once.
With the Oilers trailing 5-4 late in the third period, Edmonton’s superstar centre danced around and through four New York Rangers before tucking the puck past goalie Alexandar Georgiev.
The Oilers, who at one point trailed 4-1, won in overtime on a shot by – who else – Leon Draisaitl. Between the two of them, McDavid and Draisaitl are on a pace to score 350 points this season.
Of course, that is impossible. Maybe.
Over his career, McDavid has scored too many highlight-reel goals to count. But this one – “To heck with it, I am just going to do this myself” – might be the best. Social media went bananas.
Barstool Sports called it “the most impressive hockey goal ever.”
The NHL Network said, “Are you kidding?”
Said The Sporting News, “We are not worthy.”
“Please” one fan Tweeted of the four victimized Rangers’ players. “They have families.”
McDavid has points in each of Edmonton’s 10 games. The Oilers are 9-1 for the first time in history. They have never previously won nine of their first 10, not even in the Wayne Gretzky era.
McDavid has 22 points already, which is second-best in the NHL, one behind Draisaitl. Clearly, at a combined salary of US$20.5-million a year, they are grossly underpaid.
For the most part, 2021-22 has been kind to Canada’s teams. The Maple Leafs dispatched the Bruins on Saturday and have now won five in a row. They sit comfortably behind the Florida Panthers in second place in the Atlantic Division.
Their past two victories have been very impressive – a last-minute great escape to beat Tampa Bay followed by a dismantling of old-nemesis Boston.
Mitch Marner had a goal and three assists on Saturday and has factored in 10 of Toronto’s past 12 scores, including the past six.
John Tavares scored for the Maple Leafs at 12:21 of the first period and posted his second goal of the game at 2:53 of the third. He also posted the primary assist on Marner’s third-period goal. Tavares has nine points over the past five games.
Auston Matthews scored on two power plays and has multipoint outings in three consecutive games.
“The big dogs are starting to hunt,” said Jack Campbell, the Toronto goalie.
He had 42 saves against the Bruins and has stopped 119 of the past 124 shots. In nine starts he has only allowed more than three goals once.
The Maple Leafs are 7-4-1 and will try to extend their winning streak to a half-dozen on Tuesday at Scotiabank Arena against the Los Angeles Kings. They are rising after a lukewarm start.
“I think the highs can get real high here and the lows can get real low and I think sometimes you’ve just got to take a step back and take a breath,” Matthews said. “A couple weeks ago we weren’t playing at a level we were happy with and I think it’s kind of come full circle.”
Calgary, meanwhile, is cruising along at 7-1-3. The Flames’ only loss in regulation time came in their opening game against the Oilers. The Battle of Alberta should provide plenty of thrills from here on in.
The Winnipeg Jets started the season badly with three losses but are 6-1-1 since then. They are well positioned at third in the Central Division.
The other three Canadian teams have had a difficult time. The Ottawa Senators are seventh in the eight-team Atlantic at 3-7-1. The Montreal Canadiens are last – a hot mess at 3-10 – but they will have Carey Price back in net in the near future. He is to rejoin the team on Monday after spending four weeks in the league’s player-assistance program.
The Canucks are a Rubik’s cube seemingly impossible to figure out. They entered Sunday with four wins – same as the first-year Seattle Kraken.
For the time being at least, McDavid and his remarkable goal – and the Oilers – will be the talk of the NHL, at least in Canada.
“I don’t know if you were watching the bench, but the bench went crazy [when McDavid scored],” Zach Hyman said late Friday. The former Maple Leaf has seven goals in his first 10 games with Edmonton. “Only he can make a play like that. It’s just Connor being Connor.”
McDavid, who generally loathes to talk about himself, appraised the goal afterward. As he spoke, fans in the streets outside in Edmonton chanted “MVP.”
“I kind of just tried to pick my way through, and thankfully I did,” he said. “I’m paid to score big goals, and I’m paid to do that type of stuff. I’m just doing my job. It’s probably not the best idea to take four guys on every night, but I thought the situation was kind of weird. Everyone was kind of coming up, I was coming down the pipe, and I just tried to make a play.”