Nathan MacKinnon is going to win the Calder trophy. He stands alone as the NHL's best rookie, and one of the reasons for that is that he never really looked like one. Heading into the playoffs, you had to wonder if his first NHL postseason was the moment he started to look his age.
In the parlance of most kids his age: LOL nope. On Saturday, MacKinnon scored his first career NHL playoff goal, and my lord if it isn't an incredible piece of business.
The NBA postseason kicked off Saturday, but I submit that you won't see finer playoff ankle breakage than this today. Unbelievable.
You knew the Wild were in trouble the moment MacKinnon received this pass. The only guy near him was Mikko Koivu, and MacKinnon blows by him with ease, leaving him most of the neutral zone to pick up speed, because this is no longer Jacques Lemaire's Wild, and the middle of the ice is wiiiiiiide open. By the time he hits the Minnesota blueline, he's a flux capacitor away from going back to 1955.
That's when Jared Spurgeon gets blown right up. At first, MacKinnon looks like he's going to go right up the middle, but the moment Spurgeon turns to his right, MacKinnon turns to his right. Spurgeon is basically reduced to a pile of offal without skin, so inside out is he.
After unlocking "playoff mode", MacKinnon remained in it for the second period, setting up Gabriel Landeskog for two more goals that were almost as beautiful. Ilya Bryzgalov got the hook after the third goal, but it seems downright unfair to blame him for MacKinnon going super-saiyan.
Terrifying thought: what if he stays in this mode... forever? What if this is who he is now? God help us all.