There are a bunch of caveats I could throw at Cale Makar’s goal in OT against the ’Hawks to give the Avs a 4-3 win. I’ve never been a fan of 3-on-3 overtime, as it’s a forced gimmick. It’s an artificial stage meant to generate highlights like this without the usual context. Makar wouldn’t have had this kind of space even at 4-on-4. It’s still something of a home run derby to decide a game, just slightly less of one than the shootout.
It’s also the ’Hawks, who are sadness on skates. But that’s being far too cynical, and I’m feeling a little smug anyways as Makar sends Kriby Dach’s pants to somewhere around Peoria here and I’ve long been on the “Dach = Bust” train. It’s by far the healthier method to just simply marvel at something like this:
The stop on a dime is impressive enough, which turns Dach’s ankles into a fine paste. It’s like the world stopped spinning for just a second. But it’s the hands in close on Marc-Andre Fleury that’s the real treat. Makar is at a terrible angle here and yet manufactures enough space by faking the forehand shot to get to his backhand and then roof it on an angle and trajectory that only Sidney Crosby would generally think of much less attempt. It’s the kind of play the NHL has wanted to get on ESPN for years, and now it can. This is disgustingly beautiful art, iike Body Worlds or something.
Makar is, probably, the best defenseman 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’s well on pace for the first of what probably will 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 this was the idea. Makar does stuff like this during five-on-five too. The idea is that next time the Avalanche are on ESPN, or TNT, more people might tune in to see what else Makar comes up with. Chances are they won’t be disappointed.