Connor McDavid skates fast and scores goals. This is nothing new.
But after the phenom’s breakaway goal in the Edmonton Oilers’ 2-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks Friday night, McDavid might want to consider changing his jersey number from 97 to 11.
For those unfamiliar with Netflix’s Stranger Things series, ‘Eleven’ is the name of a young girl in the story with psychokinetic abilities (she moves things with her mind). It almost looked like McDavid demonstrated similar gifts with the game’s opening – and game-winning – goal Friday night.
With eight-and-a-half minutes to play in the second period, Milan Lucic backhanded a neutral-zone pass to No. 97 streaking down the middle. Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton did all he could to catch up to the speed of McDavid, to no avail. Even though the Oilers captain appeared to flip a wrist shot straight into the pads of Vancouver goaltender Ryan Miller, essentially due to McDavid's speed, Miller’s backward momentum caused him to slide toward the goal line, then the puck came loose and slipped in to give Edmonton the lead.
McDavid’s fifth goal and league-leading 12th point of the season counted as the game winner as Edmonton netminder Cam Talbot stopped all 26 shots he faced in the 2-0 shutout.
With the win, the new-look Oilers remain in unfamiliar territory, sitting atop the Western Conference standings with a 7-1 record. As a team, goals for are up (3.63 in 2016-17, compared to 2.48 in 2015-16) and goals against are down (2.14 in 2016-17 compared to 2.99 in 2015-16).
With several off-season roster changes, it looks like a different team in Edmonton than the one that has experienced several regular season disappointments in recent history. Whether it’s natural skill or paranormal activity, it’s clear McDavid is leading the way.
(Note: Of course, the Oilers’ captain won’t be changing his number as 11 was long-ago retired in honor of another pretty good Edmonton leader.)