Forward Nathan MacKinnon was full of praise for Cale Makar after the defenceman starred in the Colorado Avalanche's sweeping of the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference first round.
(This article was originally published on 11.05.2022)
The Avalanche, 11/5 to win the Stanley Cup, had a goal and two assists from Makar on Monday to beat the Predators 5-3 and progress to the second round.
In the four games, 23-year-old Makar had a play-off leading 10 points (three goals, seven assists) - no other defenceman in NHL history has registered more through four games.
After leading all blue-liners in goals (28), Makar was announced as a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenceman in the regular season, an award which he was runner-up for last season.
He was second in points (86) and tied for fifth in assists (58) over 77 games helping Colorado win the Central Division (56-19-7).
Now in a third season with Colorado, Makar has scored 41 points (10 goals, 31 assists) in 39 play-off games in his NHL career.
Among NHL defensemen who have played that many play-off games, only Bobby Orr (1.24) has more points-per-game than Makar (1.05).
MacKinnon who scored six points (five goals, one assist) against the Predators said about his colleague: "The way he dominates from the back end is amazing. All season, but this play-off season, he's taken another step with his leadership in the room, being more vocal.
"And obviously, on the ice, he's so dominant. He might be one of the best (defencemen) to ever play by the end of his career at this rate."