Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) makes a move to get past Vancouver Canucks’ Alexander Edler (23) during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) makes a move to get past Vancouver Canucks’ Alexander Edler (23) during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Connor McDavid nets hat trick as Oilers cruise past Canucks 5-2

Edmonton avenges opening-night NHL loss to Vancouver

Connor McDavid scored a hat trick and added an assist as the host Edmonton Oilers beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 Thursday for their first win of the NHL season.

Leon Draisaitl, the NHL’s top scorer last season, added four assists in the win.

The game was held in front of no fans and empty stands at Rogers Place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and added an assist for Edmonton. Mikko Koskinen, making his second start in two nights, turned back 38 shots for the win.

Nate Schmidt and Tyler Motte replied for Vancouver and Thatcher Demko stopped 41 shots in the loss. Vancouver defenceman Quinn Hughes had an assist and now has three on the season.

Both teams now have one win and one loss in what will be an abbreviated 56-game season, with all seven Canadian teams playing each other exclusively in the North Division.

McDavid, second to Draisaitl in the NHL scoring race last year, was held off the scoresheet in Edmonton’s 5-3 loss to Vancouver Wednesday but buzzed the Canuck net all night Thursday. Draisaitl now has five points on the year – all assists. The Oilers also got their power play back on track. They scored twice with the man advantage after going 0 for 4 in Wednesday’s opener. Edmonton had the top power play in the NHL last season at 29.5 per cent effectiveness.

The game saw Edmonton hold the edge in play, but the Canucks refused to go away.

Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring on the power play at 7:59 of the first period. He jumped on the rebound when a Draisaitl wrist shot clanged off the post, backhanding the puck over the goal line. McDavid made it 2-0 on an extraordinary goal with less than one second to go in the period. Draisaitl won the faceoff to Demko’s left, drew the puck back to Kailer Yamamoto, who fired the puck off Demko’s pad. McDavid drove to the net and, with Canuck defender Schmidt draped all over him, flipped the puck up and under the crossbar.

There were four goals in the second period. Schmidt made it 2-1 when he blasted a low slapshot from the point through traffic that bounded in and out of the net so fast it wasn’t immediately clear it had gone in. McDavid then restored the two-goal lead, on the power play, racing at full speed into the Canuck zone, catching Vancouver defender Alex Edler flat footed, cutting inside and delivering a no-look blazing wrist shot stick side and in.

READ MORE: Boeser scores 2, Vancouver Canucks dump Edmonton 5-3 in NHL season opener

Motte brought Vancouver back to within one, deflecting a low blue-line slapshot from Travis Hamonic past Koskinen. Then McDavid again, jumping in front of Demko, taking a pass from Draisaitl and jamming the puck in on the rebound for his seventh NHL regular season hat trick. The last time he got a hat trick was also in front of no fans, in early August against the Chicago Blackhawks in the so-called bubbled play-in round to determine the 2019-20 season playoff seeding.

After he scored in August, arena staff hustled down the stairs and honoured hockey tradition by tossing ball caps over the glass and onto the ice to mark the hat trick. McDavid later said he found the lid toss an unnecessary distraction. This time, no hat toss.

Edmonton made it 5-2 with just over eight minutes left in the game. Nugent-Hopkins drove to the net through traffic and redirected a Yamamoto pass past Demko.

Notes: It was the second of 10 meetings between the two teams. Vancouver now heads to Calgary for games on Saturday and Monday. Edmonton hosts Montreal on those same two nights. Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner was called up from the taxi squad to back up Koskinen after Mike Smith was declared inactive.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanuckshockeyNHLVancouver

Just Posted

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual Internet speeds in BC communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

Fireworks are among the things now banned throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, as the weather heats up and a dry summer looms. (Photo credit: Black Press files)
Category 2 and 3 open fires, fireworks now banned in Kamloops Fire Centre

Ban on certain types of fires and fire activities in place until Oct. 15

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, four deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

Most Read