McDavid, MacKinnon, Makar, Matthews and Gaudreau Score Big in NHL Playioffs

Edmonton's Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists against the Kings on Tuesday night.

Edmonton’s Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists against the Kings Tuesday night.
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Hockey fans love to emphasize that hockey isn’t just the ultimate team game – after all, everyone gets a serve – but the playoffs emphasize it. It’s somewhat true, though it’s usually a top player or goalkeeper who takes the Conn Smythe home as the playoff’s most valuable player when all is said and done.

Rarely do we get signature playoff performances from the league’s best swinging a series in hockey. One of the reasons for the scoring increase this season, especially later in the year, and one reason I’ve obscured while watching it, is the league’s crackdown on cross-checks and the insistence on holding talks during play- keep offs going. Three teams in the first round play an average of five power plays per game, while two more teams play an average of four. Last year, only two teams averaged four or more power plays per game, and both were knocked out in the first round.

Stacking up the power play goals isn’t the first thing you think of to make the game more exciting, but it does two things that have the same result. One is that it keeps the best attacking players on the ice for one team with more space, and the behavior changes at equal strength, which also opens up space.

And with that space, we’ve seen some signature performances over the past two nights for teams that desperately need them. Johnny Gaudreau was great for a Calgary team 2-1 behind and on the road, burying a penalty he deserved and adding an assist. We watched Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar throw the Predators right back into the dumpster they came from.

Last night, after an initial period in which the Leafs were completely knocked out by the Lightning and down twice, Auston Matthews went supernova, scoring the winner and registering four shots in the last two periods. Vladimir Tarasenko had a third period hat-trick for the Blues as they took a 3-2 lead over Minnesota. And that was in response to Karill Kaprizov’s two goals in the first, including squeezing this snipe through a mosquito’s ass to give the Wild a temporary lead:

But no one tied his back to their team like Connor McDavid last night, who had a goal and two assists (and should have had a third), and made the Kings shit every time he touched the puck (and he seemingly never came off). the ice for the last half of the game). You hear a tear in time and space for just about all of these. Here he creates an opportunity that even Zack Kassian can’t screw up with his hands and brain made of damp cardboard, which would usually mean tucking it into his tangled gape:

Here’s McDavid taking matters into his own hands:

And then he drags Leon Draisaitl with him, or the kings freeze en masse to find Draisaitl again:

Unfortunately, the only force that McDavid can’t tame is his own goalkeeper, Mike Smith, who conceded three terrible goals to undo all of McJesus’s work. First, Smith lets Adrian Kempe’s shot that had all the power of a snot missile through his legs:

Then he bit so hard on Dustin Brown, now made of barely packed sand and Elmer’s glue, that he forgot Andreas Athanasiou to his right, and had to lunge at him as if ducking over a hedge to catch his deliverer, leaving the net wide open:

Smith did the same for Phillip Danault’s goal in the third, this time forgetting to get up against his post as Danault stood there:

There’s something poetic and fitting about McDavid’s best playoff appearance he was fucked by his keeper, because that’s the story of his entire career. Still, the NHL struggles to get its stars to make the biggest plays at the biggest moments. As it turned out, all they had to do was give them space.

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