Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is something of a highlight-reel machine at this point, and he scored a goal to remember in his team’s 6-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.
MORE NHL: Five candidates to replace Peter Laviolette as Nashville Predators head coach
It all happened while McDavid and the Oilers led 5-3 with roughly eight and a half minutes left to play at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. In a four-on-four situation, Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins forced a turnover just inside the defensive zone, allowing No. 97 to pick up the puck as it squirted back to center ice. Normally, fans — and opponents — might expect McDavid to turn on the jets and blast by the opposition’s defense. But in his lone visit to Toronto this season, the Oilers star had something else in mind for poor, poor Leafs defender Morgan Rielly.
McDavid paced up the ice slowly toward Rielly, the lone skater standing between him and Toronto goalie Michael Hutchinson, and started to cut toward the middle — until suddenly, he wasn’t there at all.
Rielly was caught flat-footed when McDavid pulled something like a juke move in football and turned on the jets only at the top of the faceoff circle on Hutchinson’s glove side. With the Toronto alternate captain out of the way, McDavid carved back toward Hutchinson’s blocker side with a backhand — only to pull back to his forehand with lightning-quick speed and shoot the puck just past the goalie’s glove.
“We just gave him way too much space,” Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews told reporters after the game. “He’s the most dangerous player in the world for a reason so if you just let him fly through the neutral zone with the speed and skill that he has, he’s going to make us pay. That’s what he did tonight.”
The goal was McDavid’s fourth point of the night and brought his point total to 69 on the season. He now has two points on his Oilers linemate Leon Draisaitl — who scored a goal and recorded an assist on Monday — for the NHL’s overall scoring lead.