If all goes as planned, Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid will be torching the NHL for years to come. For now, they’re absolutely lighting up the World Cup of Hockey as linemates on the exciting Team North America.
The most recent No. 1 overall picks didn’t take long to get going in their second game together, by putting North America on the board against the veteran-laden Russian squad.
After a clever touch pass from Mark Scheifele, McDavid broke up the ice down the right wing and had to squeeze past a check from Pavel Datsyuk. As soon as he broke free, he was off to the races. Meanwhile, Matthews was charging up the middle of the ice to give McDavid an outlet.
The Edmonton Oilers forward made a patient play and put the puck right on Matthews’ tape, past the outstretched Alexei Emelin. The Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, who has yet to play in the NHL, confidently deposited the puck in the net to cap the breathtaking rush.
The future of the NHL is awfully bright and we got to see right there, especially from McDavid who simply would not give up on that play. The incredible speed of both players, the confidence of guys that have been in the league for a decade and the skill that sets them far apart from their peers all were right there.
That was Matthews’ first goal of the World Cup, while McDavid now has two assists in the tournament so far.
McDavid, in particular, seems to have a positive impact for his team almost every time he touches the puck. There are few players that possess the ability to do what he does at full speed. It all comes down to how he processes the game.
These two guys have a chance to be the future faces of the NHL when time eventually catches up to Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. One from the hockey hotbed of Ontario, the other a product of NHL expansion to Arizona, they’re almost polar opposites in terms of background. Getting the opportunity to see McDavid and Matthews on the same line, let alone the same team, has been an absolute treat.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / WATCH: Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews burn Russian defense for goal