There are a lot of warnings I could throw at Cale Makar’s OT goal against the ‘Hawks to give the AVS a 4-3 win. I’ve never been a fan of 3v3 overtime, because it’s a forced gimmick. It is an artificial stage designed to generate highlights like this without the usual context. Makar wouldn’t have had that kind of space even at 4v4. It’s still something of a home run derby to decide a game, only slightly less than one compared to penalties.
They are also the ‘Hawks, who are the sadness on skates. But that’s too cynical, and I still feel a little smug as Makar sends Kriby Dach’s pants somewhere around Peoria here and I’ve been on the “Dach = Bust” train for a long time. It is by far the healthiest way to simply marvel at something like this:
The stop on a penny is quite impressive, which turns Dach’s ankles into a fine paste. It is as if the world has stopped spinning for just a second. But the real surprise is the hands clenched on Marc-Andre Fleury. Makar has a terrible angle here and yet produces enough space by simulating the forehand shot to get to his backhand and then cover him on a corner and trajectory that only Sidney Crosby would typically think they would attempt much less. It’s the kind of game the NHL has wanted to get on ESPN for years, and now it can. This is disgustingly beautiful art, like Body Worlds or something like that.
Makar is arguably the best defender in the league, and that goal was his 28th point in just 25 games. It was his 14th goal, three more than any other d-man in the league. He is well underway for the first of what will likely be a collection of Norris trophies. Skating like that is simply unplayable for most.
So yeah, it’s overtime when that kind of space is simply given to players, but that was the idea. Makar does things like that even during five on five. The idea is that the next time the Avalanche are on ESPN, or TNT, more people could tune in to see what else Makar comes up with. Chances are they won’t be disappointed.