Oilers’ McDavid becomes sixth-fastest player with 700 points in win over Canucks
EDMONTON — After a sluggish start in its regular season opener, Edmonton finally found its way by orchestrating a huge comeback to win.
Connor McDavid had a hat trick and added an assist as the Oilers battled from a 3-0 deficit to earn a 5-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. The performance gave McDavid 701 career points – in just 488 games – making him the sixth fastest player to reach the milestone.
“It just wasn’t a good start for our group. It was the first game and there was maybe a bit of nervousness,” McDavid said. « It won’t be perfect every night. You’re not going to have the game you want every night and sometimes you win with your ‘B’ or ‘C’ game. It certainly wasn’t our « A » game to begin with, but we found a way to get our legs moving and get back to it.
Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists while Darnell Nurse also scored for the Oilers (1-0). Goaltender Jack Campbell made 33 saves in the win.
« It wasn’t on anyone’s script, that’s for sure, » Edmonton head coach Jay Woodcroft said. “I don’t think we were sharp. I don’t think we were in sync at the start. We found a way to win the game, that’s a very good sign, but we can do better.
Elias Pettersson, JT Miller and Andrei Kuzmenko all scored for the Canucks (0-1). Thatcher Demko stopped 20 of the 24 shots he faced in the loss.
« It was pretty disappointing, I think we played well in the first and the special teams kind of cost us the game, » Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson said. “The power play wasn’t good enough and we couldn’t keep the puck out of our net in (penalty stroke).
Edmonton seemed to have a bad case of nerves going into the game and the Canucks took advantage, building a 2-0 lead in less than three minutes.
With just 1:49 remaining in the opening period, Oilers rookie forward Dylan Holloway spat the puck towards Pettersson who had a clear path to the net and was able to fish his own rebound off Campbell’s feet and swipe it for a purpose.
Just 51 seconds later, Miller took the top corner with a ball past Campbell to double the lead.
Vancouver made it 3-0 on the power play just 39 seconds into the middle frame as Miller delivered a perfect pass to give Kuzmenko a stolen touch for his first goal in his NHL debut. Kuzmenko is the first player in Canucks history to score a power-play goal in his debut.
Edmonton got on the board 4:12 into the second period as Draisaitl deflected a pass to the side of the net and slammed it past Demko on the power play. The goal caused some controversy, however, as Evander Kane caught Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes with a high stick to the face which was not called despite Hughes bleeding shortly before the goal was scored.
« He’s okay. They missed it, it happens, » Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau said. our net and gives them a little life. »
The Oilers moved closer to a goal with another power play scorer 14:01 into the second as a perfect three-way passing game saw the puck go from Zach Hyman to Draisaitl and then to McDavid for his first of the season.
Edmonton tied the game in dramatic fashion with 41 seconds left in the period on a two-on-one shorthanded break as Draisaitl passed it on to Nurse, who beat Demko with a one-timer.
The Oilers took their first lead 15:01 into the third period as McDavid orchestrated a back-and-forth with Hyman before dropping his own rebound past Demko for his all-time 700th point.
McDavid completed the hat trick with 25 seconds left as Kane returned it for a power-play goal into an empty net, unleashing a flurry of hat-tricks onto the ice. It was his 11th career hat trick.
NOTES: This is the fourth straight season the Oilers have started their campaign with a home game against the Canucks…Edmonton starts the season with a six-game homestand and plays nine of its first 12 at Rogers Place…The Canucks play their first five games on the road, waiting until Oct. 22 against Buffalo for their home opener…Edmonton was without forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Warren Foegele, forcing the struggling team to go with 11 forwards and six defensemen to the game…Vancouver was without Travis Dermott, Tyler Myers and Ilya Mikheïev. Ekman-Larsson did not participate in morning practice but was able to play.
NEXT: Both teams return to play Saturday, with the Canucks playing an afternoon game in Philadelphia against the Flyers. The Oilers will host the Calgary Flames in a rematch of last year’s second-round playoff series.