TORONTO – It was the goal that summarizes what the best player in the game is about.
Connor McDavid has never looked at Toronto Maple Leafs defender Morgan Rielly, who was about to face off one on one. Because McDavid is a pass-first guy and was actually looking for a teammate to catch up with him and join him.
"I knew Nuge was jumping, so I thought maybe he would give him a chance to make a strange rush, maybe a duel, and then just try to do a piece," he told McDavid, who finally said time and patience ran out when it became clear that the cavalry would not make it in time.
So he went to Plan B, burned Rielly at his world-class pace, and achieved what team-mate Alex Chiasson later called "the most beautiful goal I've ever seen".
For a play in which even Maple Leafs fans had left the full house and knew that they had reached a destination that they could literally tell their grandchildren one day, McDavid went from first to second in two steps fourth gear and left Rielly behind Put a nice Deke on Toronto goalie Mike Hutchinson to complete the masterpiece. You've seen it several times on TV and on Twitter – or in Rielly's nightmares after a 6-4 Oilers win.
"He's the most dangerous player in the world for a reason," said Toronto's Auston Matthews. "So if you just let him fly through the neutral zone with the speed and dexterity he has, he'll make us pay. He did this tonight."
And he did it to Rielly, too, and left behind the acidic aftermath of the best defender of the Leafs.
"Can you give us an idea what it is like to defend 97 when he has speed?" Rielly was asked.
"No, not really," he said. "I mean he's tough."
"This is a good D-man in a good place," said Darnell Nurse.
“And (McDavid) just did an incredible piece. It's fun to watch. "
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It was McDavid's first NHL goal in the Scotiabank Arena, where he scored at a World Cup and as a junior. When it was done, he had a four-point premiere in Toronto, scoring a fabulous goal in a city that knows how rare a talent they were watching.
Look at the repetition and turn up the tone. You can literally hear the Leafs crowd rising, blinded as he turns on the jets and rushes past Rielly.
"It is definitely something special, it is the structure of our team in which we have struggled. I personally have struggled. It was definitely fun to come here and get a big win" said McDavid, who was never very willing to crow for one of these highlight role goals. “Everyone wants to play well in their hometown, I had a lot of friends and relatives in the building, so it was fun to get one. It feels good.
"We haven't won here since I've been a part of the Oilers. Definitely fun getting one."
After the Oilers came to Boston on Saturday and won 4-1, Leon Draisaitl said: "It cannot be an isolated case." So Edmonton took the confidence that came with the win over the Bruins and stayed in Toronto without a backlog, chases starter Frederik Andersen and returns the favor of a 2-6 in this building almost a year ago.
"We said before the game that I was here four years ago and I don't think I won in this building." It's nice to take you home, ”said the Hamilton-born nurse. "Many of us have a large family here, and since you are not in the West, you do not have the opportunity to see your family and friends very often. To win, finish with the right grade, it is great for everyone. "
The Oilers, who hunted just about every game in a bleak December, led the game wire-to-wire, scoring first, then scoring a 1:23 2-man lead that could change everything can.
Six different players scored a goal for Edmonton, even though everyone left the building and only raved about one of these goals. Everyone except the trainer.
"What do you think about the goal?" Head coach Dave Tippett was asked.
"Which one?" He said. "I liked all six."
Giving up four goals leaves some coaches unhappy, but this is Toronto where the Leafs score in groups. Tippett wins 6-4 for a team that has collected five points in the first three games of this road trip and is moving back to the top of the Pacific.
"I don't want to do without four … but sometimes you have to respect the skills of the other team," said Tippett. “Our boys are playing with confidence. We feel that if we play as we can we can win. "
And that's exactly what they do.