Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid reacts to goal of the year candidate

Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had one of the most talked-about goals on Friday night. Here’s what he had to say about it.

Connor McDavid nearly broke the internet with his electrifying third-period goal in the Edmonton Oilers‘ 6-5 overtime win against the New York Rangers on Friday night. Trailing 5-4 with just over three minutes in regulation, McDavid could not keep the puck in the Oilers’ attacking zone.

As Edmonton looked to regroup and cross the blue line all at once, McDavid saw an opening in the Rangers’ defense and darted up in the slot. The 24-year-old navigated through four defenders before eventually beating the Rangers’ netminder, Alexandar Georgiev.

“I wasn’t happy I didn’t keep the puck in the zone,” McDavid said as he was breaking down the play after the game. “I thought we were building something there, and I kind of just lost the handle. I kind of just lost the handle on the puck all night, but I thought I’d just try to pick my way through there. I wasn’t going overly fast, and the guys did a good job hustling back to get onside. I kind of just tried to pick my way through, find my way through, and thankfully I did.

“I’m paid to score big goals, and I’m paid to do that type of stuff. I’m just doing my job. Probably not the best idea to take four guys on every night, but I thought the situation was kind of weird,” he admitted. “Everyone was kind of coming up, I was coming down the pipe, and I just tried to make a play.”

The individual effort was reminiscent of when McDavid single-handedly skated around Maple Leafs’ defenseman Morgan Rielly back in January 2020; however, that was just a one-on-one battle. Friday night’s effort was the most talked-about goal and will likely be in consideration for the goal of the year.

McDavid’s thrilling tally was part of the Oilers’ comeback effort on a night when Edmonton legend Kevin Lowe had his No. 4 retired and raised to the rafters before puck drop. The Oilers erased a 4-1 deficit after giving up three goals in a 4:40 span early in the second period.

After tying the game at four goals apiece, Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad tallied his second goal of the contest, putting the Rangers back on top.

“I thought we did a great job of coming out in the third and getting ourselves back into the game,” McDavid added. “I didn’t like that we gave one up there to give back the lead, but I thought (the goal) was a big moment. I thought the crowd was into the game. It was an exciting night. It all kind of just escalated then.”

After McDavid’s goal evened the score again at five goals apiece, the game needed an extra five-minute period to settle the score.  With just over 1:30 to play, Oilers’ defenseman Darnell Nurse sent a tape-to-tape pass to a wide-open Leon Draisaitl, who fired the game-winner past Georgiev.

The Oilers (9-1-0) are off to the best start in franchise history, and while it’s still early, all things are certainly trending in a positive direction. However, McDavid knows the importance of keeping the gas pedal down, especially on the upcoming road trip.

“We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s 10 games in, and we’ve had a good start,” the reigning Hart Trophy winner concluded. “Obviously, we wanted to perform well, and I thought we didn’t do that for a huge part of the game. Finding a way to win a game like that, you can build on it. We have a couple of days off here now, but it’s definitely something to build on.”

The Oilers will face the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, with puck drop set for 5:30 pm MT.