Another Nathan MacKinnon does something amazing post — yeah, that's right.
Perhaps the Halifax Mooseheads could have kept their season alive with the typically beautifully ugly playoff goal. MacKinnon, the 16-year-old who's pegged to be the NHL's No. 1 draft pick in 2013, reached back for a little extra on Friday night. With the Mooseheads square at 2-2 with the Quebec Remparts in the third period and down 3-1 in the QMJHL playoff series, playing their perhaps final game of the season in front of a massive crowd of 9,664, MacKinnon scored the winning goal on a fantabulous solo effort. After taking a short pass as he crossed the blueline, he realized the Remparts defenders Marc-Antonie Carrier and Mikaël Tam were just stepping on the ice and had yet to get their bearings.
In that split second, he created space, brushed off a stick check from likely NHL lottery pick Mikhail Grigorenko and wired in the winning goal. It was his 10th goal in nine playoff games; if the Mooseheads can keep playing, there's a chance MacKinnon will set a team record for goals in one playoff year. Remember, he's 16 years old.
The play begins at 1:18 in the video below.
"I saw the two defencemen changing, they had just got on the ice and were a little flat-footed," MacKinnon told Mooseheads play-by-play man John Moore. "I knew I didn't have enough room to beat them wide, so I thought I'd stutter-step them. I just put the puck on the net and luckily enough, it went under his [Quebec goalie Louis Domingue's] stick."
Honestly, though, the real reason to highlight MacKinnon's goal was because the Mooseheads' highlight reel also features the three-way passing play where he and fellow rookie beat a veteran defence tandem to set up teammate Trey Lewis for a one-timed goal. Using his blazing speed, MacKinnon backed up Tam, a fifth-year player. Then it practically looked like he turned the puck on its edge as he slid a pass by Tam to a cutting Drouin, who sliced through a tiny space between Tam and fourth-year defenceman Martin Lefebvre before backhanding a pass to a trailing Lewis for the snipe.
It starts at the 0:53 mark of the video below.
Whether the Mooseheads can win twice in Quebec and complete their comeback remains to be seen. It is for certain that it will be a good long time before the QMJHL sees another playoff series featuring so much young talent — MacKinnon, Drouin and their Halifax goalie Zachary Fucale and the Remparts' Adam Erne and Anthony Duclair are all in their 16-year-old seasons.
(Stick tap: Kevin Cowper.)
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (videos: John Moore, Halifax Mooseheads).
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