In a tough spot, the Edmonton Oilers staved off elimination behind a wonderful performance from Connor McDavid in Game 6, setting up a "juicy" do-or-die situation Saturday night.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --with the Kings and Oilers though, this one is completely out of control. I'm jealous of those who can absorb, or who have been able to absorb Edmonton-LA without the task of having to write a column about a different series at the exact same time. Because this series is absolutely off the charts. It is so distracting for those who have to write a column about a different series at the exact same time.
In Thursday night's Game 6, it was all about Connor McDavid. Of course, as it should be as the Oilers avoided elimination. Darnell Nurse was suspended, not available to the Oilers on the road. Leon Draisaitl was clearly laboring, although he's going to be an impact player regardless. But McDavid, facing all the pressure that the Maple Leafs are facing in the Toronto media, or Toronto fan base rather, is trying to digest. That's all on the Oilers, and McDavid, and that organization as well.
And yet McDavid steps up, wills his team to victory. He led all skaters in the game, or at least all the Oilers skaters. With 24 minutes, he had a goal, two assists, three shots, nine scoring chances individually, and six high danger looks all for himself. A legendary performance to set up a Game 7 in Edmonton, which McDavid's teammate Evander Kane described best as "juicy".
I have to give credit to the Kings. I doubted that they could hang in the series. I didn't think they could be in competitive in a world where Mike Smith wasn't actively giving away games. And he's given away at least one, but Mike Smith despite those regrettable moments has also played really, really well. But the Kings who are built almost exclusively on young talent aside from the two top centers, Anze Kopitar and Phillip Danault, and netminder Jonathan Quick, have gone toe-to-toe with the Oilers in this series.
I remain terrified of the prospects of LA-Calgary, or worse, LA-Dallas in the second round, only because the possibility of a battle of Alberta is what's most likely. But LA is a team folk should be looking to get behind. Very, very impressive how they've built this team, what they look like right now. Let's just wait until next season.