'I'm not giving up any of my secrets': Connor McDavid wows with goal against Leafs
TORONTO -- TORONTO - Edmonton Oilers forward Alex Chiasson called Connor McDavid's highlight-reel goal on Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs the "best he's ever seen."
Oilers coach Dave Tippett said it was "unbelievable. Connor being Connor."
McDavid, however, chose to downplay how he cleanly beat Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly for his 24th goal of the season while tacking on three assists in Edmonton's 6-4 win over Toronto.
"Just tried to make a play, that was it," said McDavid before adding: "I'm not going to give up any of my secrets."
McDavid got the puck at Toronto's blue line and danced around Rielly while 1-on-1, using his speed with a fake to the inside before going wide and snapping the puck top corner on Michael Hutchinson with 8:34 to go in regulation.
The goal gave the Oilers a 6-3 lead, and left Scotiabank Arena in amazement at what they had just seen.
"Obviously a good player," said a sombre Rielly, who wouldn't elaborate on what he saw on the play.
"You could tell tonight (McDavid) was playing with an edge and that might have been the nicest goal I've seen," said Chiasson, who also scored for Edmonton. "Pure skill, we're lucky to have him."
Mike Smith made 31 saves for the Oilers (23-17-5), who are 2-0-1 on their five-game road trip.
The Maple Leafs (24-15-5) were 9-0-1 in their last 10 games before McDavid, from nearby Richmond Hill, Ont., returned home.
Frederik Andersen, who entered the night 12-0-1 in his career against Edmonton, allowed three goals on 19 shots before getting replaced by Hutchinson less than two minutes into the second period. Hutchinson finished with 13 saves and was pegged with the loss.
"I don't think we came out too strong and they really dictated the play the first 10 minutes and it was back on our heels," said Toronto's Auston Matthews.
Oscar Klefbom opened the scoring 7:51 in when he wristed a shot from the point that went through traffic and beat a screened Andersen low blocker side.
Andersen made 16 saves in a period mostly dominated by McDavid and the Oilers.
McDavid was flying in the first with 9:10 of ice time, five shots, and another scoring chance where the puck trickled just past the post.
Smith was there for the Oilers when needed in the opening frame with 11 stops, with the veteran goaltender's biggest save coming against John Tavares from the slot with 33 seconds to go to keep it a one-goal game heading into intermission.
Rielly took a Zack Kassian shot in the chin with five to play in the first and skated off on his own to the dressing room for repairs. He returned to start the second.
Edmonton didn't need much time to take a three-goal lead early in the second, ending Andersen's night in the process.
McDavid found a streaking Darnell Nurse, who snapped it over Andersen's right shoulder 34 seconds into the period. Then Leon Draisaitl set up Kailer Yamamoto with a cross-ice feed only 1:11 later, leading to Hutchinson coming in.
"I told our team I'm not going to let Freddy play behind that. That's not fair to him," said Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe.
Jason Spezza put Toronto on the board 39 seconds after Yamamoto's goal, taking a pass from Pierre Engvall on a 3-on-2 and firing it blocker side past Smith.
Chiasson restored a three-goal lead for Edmonton with 6:19 to go in the second when he snapped the puck over Hutchinson's shoulder from the top of the left face-off circle, but the Leafs surged back with two goals in three minutes for a 4-3 game heading into the third.
Frederik Gauthier, from in close, finished off a pass from Mason Marchment, who picked up his first career NHL point, at 16:22. Then Engvall deflected a Justin Holl point shot by Smith with 47 seconds to go.
Toronto put 18 shots towards Smith in the second and led 29-26 through 40 minutes.
The Leafs killed three straight Edmonton power plays, including one early in the third, but couldn't do it a fourth time as Draisaitl fired the puck glove side on Hutchinson at 6:26 of the period to make it 5-3.
After McDavid's goal, Matthews got one back for Toronto on the power play, snapping it glove side on Smith from the right face-off dot.
"I don't want to give up four but you also have to respect the skill of the other team too. Matthews' shot was a heck of a shot," said Tippett.
Edmonton is in Montreal to play the Canadiens Thursday. Toronto's next game is Wednesday at home against the Winnipeg Jets.
"This is a big road trip for us," said Chiasson. "This is where you see good teams in this league take the next leap."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2020.