MacKinnon vs McDavid Will Be a Gift From the Hockey Gods
The NHL Western Conference Finals are set to begin on Tuesday night and it is truly a gift from the hockey gods.
The two best players are going head-to-head. That doesn’t happen a lot in the NHL since it’s so much of a team sport. There are four lines on a hockey team, so it truly takes a collective effort from them all to get to this point.
Connor McDavid is the unquestionable best player in the NHL. The things he does on the ice with a puck at the end of his stick are simply magnificent. He’s a human highlight reel, and it’s great to see him get the spotlight on him this late into the playoffs.
This time around, the Oilers are really hitting their stride right when they need to. Zach Hyman, Leon Draisaitl, and Evander Kane have been huge factors in the Oilers success this postseason.
They’re coming off an awesome series against the Calgary Flames. Hopefully, they didn’t use up all of their energy in the Battle of Alberta because they’ll need that energy to get past the Colorado Avalanche.
Just using the eye test, it seems no one is going to stop the Avalanche. They seem to be on a mission. In the first round, they wiped out the Nashville Predators in 4 games. In the second round, they took out the St. Louis Blues in 6 games.
Granted, the Blues’ goalie, Jordan Binnington, got injured controversially in Game 3 and was out for the rest of the series, so that no doubt helped out the Avs.
Nathan MacKinnon on the other hand is right up there with Connor McDavid. He didn’t play in as many games as McDavid, but MacKinnon still finished with 88 points this season (compared to McDavid’s 123 points). He’s someone else who is just magical to watch. He will take the puck all the way to the net and make all the defenders look stupid along the way.
Colorado has Nazem Kadri, Bo Byram, Grabriel Landeskog, and Cale Makar — just to name a few. The Avs are stacked from the first to the fourth line. This is going to be one of their last chances with this collection of guys before too many of them need new contracts that Colorado won’t be able to afford.
It’s going to be fascinating to see MacKinnon and McDavid trading goals all series long. And if they’re not scoring, they’re using their speed and playmaking to get other guys the puck.
Both players are guys who have a lot to prove in the playoffs. Both have been considered to be the top tier of players and neither of them has gotten to the promised land.
Colorado has the advantage of home ice — which is actually real in hockey. In football, basketball, and baseball, home advantage isn’t as deadly as it is in hockey. Out of the remaining teams in the playoffs, the home team is 24–6.
The fans during playoff hockey are like none other. That’s why that home-ice advantage is a real thing. Baseball is probably the closest comparable. Oilers vs Avalanche will be a series to remember. These are very similar teams with both having something to prove to the league.
The series starts in Colorado on Tuesday, May 31st at 8:00 PM ET on TNT.