Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have already authored legendary postseasons

Hockey sometimes resembles basketball when Connor McDavid has the puck. He’s the NHL’s closest analog to an NBA superstar who barely rests in big games, spearheads the lion’s share of offensive possessions, and bends the sport to his will.

His up-ice rushes captivate viewers and dictate what happens in a matchup. McDavid acts, and the supporting characters – teammates, defenders, referees, awestruck fans – react. His dominance swings series, like when the Edmonton Oilers edged the Los Angeles Kings in Round 1. Leon Draisaitl fed him in overtime Thursday for the snipe that eliminated the Calgary Flames.

Game 5 of the Battle of Alberta was chaotic and stirring. The teams combined for a record four goals in 71 seconds. Another that entered the net off Blake Coleman’s left skate was disallowed in the third period. The legitimacy of Edmonton’s 5-4 win will be debated for decades, but the outcome is incontestable: McDavid’s incredible spring continues.

Already a two-time league MVP, McDavid raised his play to new heights to propel the Oilers to the Western Conference Final. His 26 postseason points tie him with Draisaitl for the NHL lead. He’s drawn seven penalties – up from zero when Edmonton suffered upsets last year and in the 2020 bubble – by continually fooling or gaining a step on the defense. Opponents slink away humbled and, so far this postseason, defeated.

Players are praised when they accomplish in four rounds what McDavid and Draisaitl have achieved in two. They’ve combined for 52 points in a dozen games. They’ve dished 19 assists apiece; no other NHLer has more than 15 points. Evander Kane’s 12 goals lead the playoffs, and either McDavid or Draisaitl created the scoring chance every time he tallied against Calgary.

Producing in the playoffs is supposed to be hard. Usually, it is. But McDavid and Draisaitl’s offensive pace is historic.

Author: Lucy Green