Connor McDavid joined the 60-goal club last night, doing so at the end of a wild overtime sequence that was not only overdosed with what is technically referred to as Very Cool Hockey, but neatly captured the ridiculous player that McDavid—who was already plenty ridiculous before he scored 60 goals—has become this season.
Sure, fine, maybe it would have been more cinematic if McDavid had put away his first breakaway opportunity. The pass from Leon Draisaitl that set McDavid loose certainly deserved a goal. But his second helping—a deft little flick from his knees after battling to win back the puck high up the ice—was plenty nice on its own, and McDavid rewarded the effort.
What stands out about the whole sequence is the audacity of it. The word drips off both of Draisaitl's passes, but McDavid's twin attempts on the net are drowning in it. It's one thing to deke to the left while skating at full speed and hooooollllld the forehand shot until the last possible moment, but to do the same exact thing just a few seconds later? A lesser player in that situation might have still been haunted by the ringing of the post from the first shot and gone for something more pragmatic on the second, but McDavid steeled himself, put Connor Ingram on his belly, and lashed the puck into the top corner.
"It’s crazy to try the same move and score on it the second time," Draisatl said to reporters after the game. "But that's just what he does."
Draisatl knows better than anyone what McDavid does. The pair have been the most prolific point-scoring duo in the NHL over the last handful of years, but this campaign stands out due to the leaps McDavid has taken as a scorer. Maybe he has Draisaitl to thank for that:
The speed at which McDavid reached goal No. 60 was probably the only thing that surprised Draisaitl about the Oilers captain’s exploits.
Draisaitl visited his buddy in the Toronto area last offseason for skating sessions and hangouts. He told him the 2022-23 season was when McDavid should score 60 times.
McDavid, who’d never hit the 50-goal mark, brushed him off. Draisaitl now has the last laugh.
“I told him in the summer,” Draisaitl said. “There’s no reason why he can’t. He’s so special. He creates so many opportunities for himself. He has enough looks to get there.
There's that word again, "audacity," dancing around those four paragraphs. A few months ago, McDavid hadn't even considered himself a candidate to score 60 goals, but then one day his buddy came over and said that he should try to do it, the same way one of your pals might recommend a book, or a video game. And then McDavid just went ahead and became the fourth active player to score 60 goals in a season. What the hell? Who does this guy think he is!