The world’s best hockey player got even better on Saturday as Edmonton Oilers’ captain Connor McDavid elevated his play in Game 7 of a first-round matchup with the Los Angeles Kings, carried his team on his back, and moved the Oilers into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Oilers haven’t won a first-round series since 2017 and it was a narrative McDavid was going to change. McDavid recorded his sixth multi-point game of the 2022 First Round but his teammates all said the same thing about his performance: his “will to win” stood out most.
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— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) May 15, 2022
There’s no denying McDavid’s skill. But, if there’s a knock on him, it’s that he’s been too busy racking up single-season point records and winning personal trophies while the Oilers have underperformed in the playoffs and compared to expectations. This season, McDavid aimed to change things and the Oilers will now face the winner of Game 7 between the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars.
McDavid said after the Oilers win that there’s a lot more work left to do and this is only one round, but it feels good to get over the hump of first-round disappointment.
McDavid scored a goal and had the primary assist on Cody Ceci’s game-winner. He played 26:24, had seven shots on goal and four hits. He set the pace of the game with a big hit in the first few minutes on Sean Durzi and he led the way as the Oilers played one of their most complete games of these playoffs, capped off by a shutout from goaltender Mike Smith.
Ryan Whitney of Spittin’ Chiclets wrote, “Considering the circumstances this might be one of the top three best overall games Connor McDavid has ever played.”
Connor McDavid Oilers 1
Even though insiders are joking that everyone should re-vote for the Hart Trophy now, McDavid was understated when talking about his own performance. He noted, “To do it in front of these fans, in this city, it means the world. “I’m just part of the team, man. I’m just part of a great group.” And, to be fair, McDavid wasn’t the only player to play well.
Other Oilers Showed Up
Leon Draisaitl gutted out the game and played over 22 minutes on what everyone knows is a bad ankle. There were questions about whether he’d be able to play, but when asked about his injury after the game, all he would say is “I’m fine.” McDavid gave Leon huge props. Mike Smith was also incredible all series long, after making a huge gaffe in Game 1 that cost the Oilers the opening contest. Two shutouts and some incredible saves made it clear Smith is ready to compete as far as the Oilers will go.
The blue line played two of their best games defensively in Game 6 and Game 7 and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zach Hyman, and Ryan McLeod were terrific two-way forwards, shutting down some of LA’s top scorers.
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