I may be able to base it on my memories, I don’t recall seeing a player dominate on an ice rink like Connor McDavid is currently doing with the Edmonton Oilers.
It’s amazing what he does. Something happens with each of his presence, and often you have to see the cover to fully understand the magic trick he just performed.
We knew he was the best player in the National League, but now he’s on a mission and he’s taken it to the next level. He’s playing the best hockey of his career and that beats anything I’ve seen from Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.
Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky also dominated hockey, but our national sport has grown so quickly that I didn’t think any player could surpass the others that much.
McDavid always seems to have that extra speed up his sleeve, and even when he’s stationary he can explode in a split second and put his coverr down in an instant.
Also, there’s no way to unbalance it. We can contain him, he’s so strong he’s fighting back and we can’t take the puck away from him.
He puts on a show every night, and knowing the value of his right arm in recent years, Leon Draisaitl, we have to applaud the Oilers’ general manager’s controversial decision to take over Evander Kane, who served his second round date on Sunday Playoff hat signed.
Well, the series against the Flames isn’t won yet, but don’t think Ken Holland acquired Kane without speaking to McDavid. I’m sure McDavid made sure Kane kept a good attitude and Kane no one wanted anymore proves he’s still worth his weight in gold.
A great captain
McDavid is not alone, but he wields his leadership like a great captain, carrying his team on his shoulders. Their team refuses to lose and although they lost the first game 9-6, they managed to come from a four goal deficit (5-1) to create a 6-6 draw.
That surge has shaken Calgary’s confidence and that of goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who is nonetheless a finalist for the Vézina Trophy.
Things move so fast in front of the Flames’ net that Markstrom cheats, often getting out of position or not looking at the puck properly. He looks small for a giant.
His opposite number, Mike Smith, wasn’t perfect, but in the end the 40-year-old Oilers goaltender got the better of him, not to mention his offensive drive with crisp passes.
Markstrom needs to find his feet quickly and his coach Darryl Sutter needs to help him. The Flames are used to winning tight games 2-1, but that won’t work against McDavid and the Oilers. You have to generate offense like in the first game and avoid having to defend as much as possible with a more dynamic precheck.
However, I don’t get the impression that we’re panicking in the Camp of Flames. A win tonight and the series is 2-2. If that were the case I would have more faith in Markstrom than Smith going forward, but there is this McDavid who can make the difference.
I hope the Oilers win for a reason. I want to see McDavid again and again. What an asset to Edmonton and to the NHL!
– Interview by Gilles Moffet
As you read this, the Panthers are either out or down 3-1 against the Lightning and back Andrei Vasilyevsky. If they ever won in Tampa last night, the odds of advancing to the third round remain slim. Here we see the difference between a team that has won and one that is learning to win. The Lightning were defeated 4-0 by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019 before winning back-to-back Stanley Cups and, who knows, maybe a third. It always takes a spark to go far. Beating the Leafs was a challenge, but winning in Florida is also a huge motivator.
The Shesterkin-Raanta duel
Unsurprisingly, the run between the two teams that conceded the fewest goals in the regular season is less spectacular than the others. The good news for Rangers is that goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin, believed to be the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy, is finally showing his talent. For his part, the doorman for the Hurricanes Anti Ranta knows trains of thunder. I have the impression that whoever is mentally strong will bring victory to their team.
Beat for the blues
St. Louis Blues tough but keeper loss Jordan Binnington can hurt her. Partner Ville Husso has a second chance to prove he can do the job in the playoffs, but it won’t be easy against the Avalanche. The Colorado team also lost a big chunk in Samuel Girard, but Binnington’s injury will hurt the Blues more.
Primeau takes his chance
Cayden Primeau has a very good playoff streak with Laval Rocket and I’m happy about that. He has to prove himself and if he continues like this it will open doors for him, whether in Montreal or elsewhere.