On Monday night as the Edmonton Oilers scored a defeat over the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 6-4 margin, Connor McDavid scored an incredible goal. And, to say incredible, I might be underselling it.
It was a building the Oilers have struggled in, specifically a building McDavid had struggled in, having never scored in Toronto’s barn since joining the NHL.
All that said, there was a feeling as the third period got underway, mere hours after the Oilers GM announced the team’s time window to win was now, that McDavid wasn’t about to be denied.
The game was a high-scoring affair and McDavid wound up with four points on the night. Still, none were prettier than the move where he absolutely undressed Morgan Rielly, drove past him and put a beauty upstairs over the glove of Michael Hutchinson for his only goal of the night.
McDavid’s Goal: How to Describe It
There are a million ways to try and describe this goal. It was essentially the nail in the coffin for the Maple Leafs who were trying to mount a comeback but whose point-streak ultimately ended at 10. It was the dagger that guaranteed the win for Edmonton. It was a goal against his friend in Rielly — but on this night his opponent, and it was a marker that had everyone in the building realize they’d witnessed something special.
It was easily the goal of the evening in the NHL, probably the goal of the year in 2020 and perhaps, the goal of McDavid’s NHL career considering the importance of the situation for the Oilers. It’s probably over-dramatic to haved called this a must-win game for Edmonton. But a big win? Absolutely.
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McDavid Has Had Some Pretty Goals
Monday’s goal was a nice goal. But, what it as nice as the goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets he scored in February of 2016? Some would say nothing will equal that one and I personally would have a hard time voting against it.
You can see McDavid split two defensemen versus just one and offer up about a dozen moves before finally leaving the goaltender in the dust. No one stood a chance.
What about the goal he scored against the Dallas Stars in March of 2019? A quick decision beauty between his legs that he roofed upstairs on Anton Khudobin?
Some might say that was just as pretty and didn’t just showcase McDavid’s speed, but his skill, quick hands and ability to move in tight spaces. It would be unfair not to, at least, consider it.
It probably won’t get a lot of votes, but there’s also the goal McDavid scored against the Arizona Coyotes in 2019 where he burst around the outside of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and out-waited the goaltender for a dynamite marker in the first period and just over one minute into the game.
This was against a defenseman many consider to be among the best of the best in the NHL. Darcy Kuemper couldn’t even react quick enough to make it back to his feet. That’s just how quickly McDavid bust around the outside and cut back towards the net, eventually getting to the other side where he just poked it in.
Yet to Probably See McDavid’s Best
The amazing part about any of these goals is that each one really just scratches the surface of what McDavid has offered the NHL since he joined the league at the start of the 2015-16 NHL season. No doubt, they’ll be plenty more where this came from.
Still, in an important game against a hot team, McDavid got his first in a building where goals have eluded him. And, when asked about it, he played it off like it was no biggie, saying merely, “I tried to make a play.”
That might be the best part about the whole situation. Oilers coach Dave Tippett said it was “unbelievable. Connor being Connor.” and this is a player who has to know how good he is, he has to understand that was an amazing highlight-of-the-night goal he’d scored, and none of that mattered. McDavid simply said he wanted to make a play after realizing the opportunity for a two-on-one rush wasn’t there.