The Wraparound: Connor McDavid looks unstoppable right now
The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television information.
• The Blues overcame a 3-0 deficit to keep their season alive vs. the Avalanche Wednesday night.
• Panthers forward Joe Thornton is not quite ready to decide on his future yet.
• Capitals forward Tom Wilson will be sidelined for the next 6-8 months after undergoing knee surgery this offseason.
Even though they have had two of the best offensive players in the league for the past seven years, the Edmonton Oilers have mostly been a punch line for the Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl era.
They have had little regular season success, almost no postseason success, and have mostly wasted some of the prime years of two franchise players with a flawed roster that has been short on depth, defense, and goaltending. Some of that is changing. The Oilers have been significantly better since the mid-season coaching change that brought in Jay Woodcroft behind the bench, while veteran goalie Mike Smith has played some of the best hockey of his season after a dreadful start.
It not only got Edmonton into the playoffs with home-ice advantage in the First Round, it finds itself entering play on Thursday night with a commanding 3-1 lead on the Calgary Flames in the Second Round with a chance to move onto the the Western Conference Final for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]
The biggest reason they are in this position? McDavid is absolutely putting the team on his back and carrying it with a postseason performance for the ages.
The numbers right now are absolutely staggering.
Ahead of Game 5, he already has 25 points in the Oilers’ first 11 postseason games, while also having recorded at least two points in 10 of those games.
There have been several postseasons over the past decade where the leading scorer for the entire playoffs did not record 25 points all postseason. McDavid has already hit that mark in 11 games. Not only does he have great individual numbers, he just looks like a player that is on a mission right now. Every single time he is on the ice it feels like he is going to do something spectacular with nobody able to even come close to slowing him down.
[NHL Power Rankings: 2021-22 surprises]
The trend for the Oilers in recent seasons has been that when McDavid is on the ice, they play great. And when he is off the ice, they struggle. That is still somewhat true this postseason. The difference now, though, is that McDavid is playing at such a level (especially when reunited on a line with Draisaitl) that it is making up for whatever shortcomings the bottom lines might still have.
With McDavid on the ice during 5-on-5 play this postseason Edmonton is outscoring its opponents by a whopping 22-8 margin in 180 minutes of hockey.
The Oilers have just nine goals in the 325 minutes of 5-on-5 play when McDavid is not on the ice.
He has also been on the ice for 34 of the Oilers’ 47 goals this postseason, while contributing to 25 of them (either scoring or assisting). There is not a single player in the NHL this postseason that has been on the ice for more than 25 goals (Draisaitl has been on the ice for 25 goals, with most of them coming with McDavid on the ice) and nobody is even close to him in terms of being on for a higher percentage of their team’s goals.
McDavid has been the most dominant offensive player in the league for six years now, with scoring titles and MVP awards pilling up. The one thing he has been missing is team success and a deep playoff run that gets him close to the Stanley Cup. He is now one game away from the Western Conference Final and he is making a pretty big statement in the process.
NHL PLAYOFF GAMES TODAY
Game 5: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET -- ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports (Series tied 2-2)
The Hurricanes looked to be in complete control of this series after the first two games, but their road woes this postseason resurfaced in New York by losing back-to-back games at Madison Square Garden to bring the series even. The Hurricanes have been a tale of two teams this postseason, owning a perfect 6-0 record on home ice and a winless 0-5 record on the road. Igor Shesterkin is starting to really get rolling again for the Rangers, while it is worth wondering when Frederik Andersen will be back in the net for the Hurricanes after consecutive defeats with Antti Raanta.
Game 5: Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers, 9:30 p.m. ET -- ESPN, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports (EDM leads 3-1)
PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews
• Hurricanes vs. Rangers
• Avalanche vs. Blues
• Flames vs. Oilers
• Makar, McDavid lead Conn Smythe watch after First Round
• NHL Second Round predictions