By Michael Bennett
If the Flyers beat Edmonton this afternoon at the Wells, this home stand will have been a success.
They’ll play again on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks to end the stretch with eight of 10 possible points.
At age 20, Oilers superstar Connor McDavid is already the NHL’s reigning Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy winner. While Edmonton has other dangerous players in its lineup, especially Leon Draisaitl (who made the road trip with his team despite an eye issue and concussion-like symptoms), McDavid is one of the few players who can almost single-handedly carry a team on his shoulders.
“Everywhere [the Oilers[ pkay they’ve got reporters asking the other team about how to play against him,” Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott said. “He’s just a unique talent, and you have to be aware of him at all times.”
McDavid’s combination of blinding speed, puck skills and ice vision at which even All-Star caliber NHL players marvel make him a threat every time he touches the puck. He also makes the players around him better, such as former Flyers farmhand Patrick Maroon.
Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning unwittingly got caught up in controversy over a play two seasons ago in which McDavid got injured after careening into the end boards. The situation then carried over into a heated confrontation last season and, later, a fight in Edmonton with Maroon. Manning said yesterday that the issue is over and done as far as he’s concerned.