The Edmonton Oilers clutch gene evolution is right before our eyes

When it comes to career-defining moments, these 2022 NHL playoffs are just for Conor McDavid. Through six games, he found the back of the net three times while adding six more passes to score a league-high 12 points.

But the fact that he once again finds himself at the top of any given scoring race shouldn’t be big news. He is, after all, the best player in the world, and in this writer’s eyes is undoubtedly the most dynamic attacking talent the league has seen since Mario Lemieux and Jaroomer Jäger were at the top of their game in the mid-’90s.

“It’s amazing,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said of McDavid’s performance in Game Six. “You all can see what he’s doing every night in terms of skill, goals, everything.

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“He set the tone for us again early on. You can see the level of the fight. He’s in every fight, on every check. He’s doing everything right and you can see how

But for McDavid, Gene developed the clutch right before our eyes and soon he did. In matches one through four, he was good. In matches 1 to 3, he scored one goal and six points.

The goal was the Oilers’ first goal in the first game, late in the first half, which helped give them some momentum in the second half. He added a assist with a Leon Drysittel goal in part of the second half to give Edmonton a one-goal lead.

In the second and third games where the Oilers beat the Kings 14-2, he only had four passes – somehow, surprisingly low production for someone who always finds himself in motion. The fourth game was mediocre not only for him, but the whole team suffered a 4-0 loss which made us all wonder what happened.

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Game five, though, has this clutch gene featured for one of the first times I can remember. Zach Cassian found the opening goal for the Oilers tied the Kings in the 2:32 minute in the second frame. You can feel at the time that he was really finding his legs.

Come the third inning, however, he took the team on his back and wanted them from a 3-1 delay to tie the game at four. He scored 2:50 in the period and ended up finding Leon Drysittel with a 4-4 goal. Every time he set foot on the ice, it was like watching him play NHL 22 in rookie mode. He stripped the pucks of kings like taking candy from a kid while making a move to break the ankle after breaking the ankle in every shift.

Match 6 was pretty much the same, but it happened in the opening encounter. Immediately, he led the play and set the tone for the entire team. 1:40 In the game, he found the back of the net. He was physical, determined, and led by example. Like the game before, McDavid played his best game before raising his game to levels we haven’t seen.

What more could you ask for from a captain?

“When he’s skating that way, it’s really hard to handle,” said McDavid’s Oilers striker Evander Kane. “I think you saw him in the opening two minutes there and a great ice acceleration rush and able to put him home on the cabbage. He was great for all of us in the series, and we’re going to need him in game seven.”

When the dust settled and the Oilers were knocked out of the circuit, McDavid ended up with a goal off his head, assisting with the third and fourth goals that were the team builders.

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What McDavid is doing is another world now that you know he will be attending more of the same Saturday night in what is, without a doubt, the biggest game of his NHL career.

Zach Ling is the news director and columnist for the Nation Network. He can be followed on Twitter at Tweet embedor via email at [email protected]

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