The Day After 1.0: Connor McDavid is still really, really, really good at hockey
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing3 months ago
It took about 20 minutes last night for Connor McDavid to remember that he’s the best player in the NHL.
It was a brutal first frame for the Oilers. They allowed three goals — the first two in the first 2:40 of the game — and things weren’t promising to start the season.
A third Canucks goal came 39 seconds into the second, and facing a 3-0 deficit, McDavid helped lead a massive chargeback en route to a 5-3 victory.
On the powerplay early in the second, McDavid ended up with the assist on a bouncing puck that found it’s way to Leon Draisaitl to make it 3-1.
Ten minutes later on the powerplay again, tic-tac-toe. Connor McDavid on the backdoor. 3-2.
Darnell Nurse scored on a beautiful shorthanded tally late in the second. 3-3.
Then, McDavid did it again. He took a Zach Hyman pass, drove to the net firing a puck on net, only to bury it on the rebound. 4-3.
An empty-net goal later, and McDavid is on pace to score… *checks notes* …246 goals this season. I say he doe-… Okay fine, I’ll pump the brakes.
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The truth of the matter is that this team once again showed its ability to overcome adversity. It was a calling card, so to speak, of the back half of the 2021-22 season. They got down early but rallied back in big ways.
It’s far from the prettiest hockey and yeah, a good start might be nice, but the ability to come back from deficits is arguably more important than being able to start a game off well. No matter how you cut it, they can’t test their luck like that all season long. They’ll need to find a way to start games strong and the sooner the better.
You could tell the Oilers had the early jitters — especially rookie Dylan Holloway. He coughed up a puck on his second shift that lead to the Canucks’ first goal of the game. Far from ideal. Holloway found himself stapled to the bench for the following eight minutes and spent more time with Ryan McLeod and Derek Ryan than his initial linemates Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman.
There are going to be speed bumps. This kid is a rookie after all. He’s going to take his lumps and he’s going to make mistakes, but burying him in his first game like that? I don’t know how big of a fan I am of it.
At the end of the day, it worked. The Oilers won. And another thing that worked was Jack Campbell in net.
Soup has already become an instant fan favourite not only for his persona off the ice but now his on ice adds to it. He made some huge stops all night long that allowed the Oilers to get back into the game and in the middle of the third, a streaking Canucks forward volleyed for a loose puck heading Campbell’s way, only for the netminder to come out of his crease and lay a thunderous body check. Stuff like that is going to make Edmonton fans love you.
There’s a long road ahead in Edmonton this season for a club that’s expected to make a serious run for a Stanley Cup title. There will be highs, there will be lows, but getting off to a big 5-3 come-from-behind win against a division rival is going to help get some early momentum going.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE SEASON LAUNCH PARTY
For the first time in three seasons, we’re throwing a Season Launch Party at SOHO and you’re all invited to join us! What’s going on? I’m glad you asked.
- Date: Saturday, October 15th, 2022
- When: 5:00pm
- Location: SOHO YEG (11454 Jasper Ave)
- What’s Included: Entry to the event, Swag Bag (complete with w-shirt, stickers, GCs), entry to the giveaways, after party with RIFF/RAFF
- How: GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!
As always, we will also be including a charity component with the event where a portion of all ticket sales will be donated directly to Sport Central to help with their mission of providing equipment and bicycles to children in need.
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