Connor McDavid picked up right where he left off.
Three and a half months after collecting the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player, the hypersonic 20-year-old opened the Edmonton Oilers’ 2017-18 campaign with yet another dominant performance.
He scored every goal in a 3-0 shutout of the Calgary Flames on opening night.
The most thrilling of which was No. 2, when he soared away from three hopeless Flames—including top-shelf defensive blueliners in Travis Hamonic and T.J. Brodie—en route to a nifty shot past the glove of goalie Mike Smith.
Hockey is back.
— NHL (@NHL) October 5, 2017
He apparently surpassed a speed of 25 mph on his way to the net.
Here’s Connor McDavid’s second goal with a speedometer attached. 41 km/h (25.4 mph) by the end of it, how the hell do you stop that? pic.twitter.com/cLXN3qp4d9
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) October 5, 2017
“I know exactly how those defencemen in Calgary feel right now,” said Edmonton defenseman Oscar Klefbom, according to the Edmonton Journal. “I play against him in every single practice. It’s tough. He makes you look silly. I see their frustration. He’s so fast, and that control with the puck is really fun to see.”
His head coach Todd McLellan was in equal awe.
“It’s what he does,” McLellan said. “He doesn’t go from first to second to third to fourth gear. He just goes from first to fourth and he’s gone. He was fresh and I think they had pieces of their fourth line out so he was able to take advantage of it.
“What was impressive about that goal was that the puck rolled all the way down the ice and he was still able to knock it down when he needed to and then put it in a little hole. A hell of a night by him and a good night by everybody around him.”
The first goal of McDavid’s hat trick came off a rebound, and the third was on an empty net with under a minute remaining.
The Oilers’ 2016-17 season ended with a second-round exit in the playoffs. It was the first time Edmonton had reached the playoffs since losing in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006.
“It’s nice, a good way to start, I guess, but we have a ways to go here,” McDavid said after the opening-night victory. “It feels good tonight, but we have a long way.”