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game recap

McDavid has three points, Oilers defeat Blue Jackets

Rookie scores, has two assists in first game since Nov. 3

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

McDavid scores beauty in return

CBJ@EDM: McDavid finds the net in return from injury

2/2/16: Connor McDavid splits the defense and dekes past Joonas Korpisalo to give the Oilers the lead in his return from injury

  • 01:00 •

EDMONTON -- Connor McDavid had a triumphant return in his first game in three months.

McDavid scored and had two assists to lift the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rexall Place on Tuesday.

The No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft missed 37 games because of a fractured left clavicle sustained when he crashed into the end boards following a shorthanded rush against the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 3.

"He set the tone for our team and our team just followed," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "That was as good a first period as we've had all year. I was truly concerned about our ability to jump on them, but we had a good start. Unfortunately, we were down after the first, but he was the catalyst."

McDavid scored the winning goal 9:58 into the second period on an outstanding individual effort, reminiscent of the rush on which he was injured. The 19-year-old picked up the puck at center ice, raced into the Columbus zone, split between defensemen Jack Johnson and Justin Falk, and then deked goalie Joonas Korpisalo before sliding the puck into an open net.

Video: CBJ@EDM: Eberle buries puck in open net for 5-1 lead

"I think the last time I went on a 1-on-2, it didn't end very well for me," McDavid said. "It was a little bit of a better result for me this time. It was a nice goal, I guess. It was three months of waiting around and a lot of grumpy days and all that. It definitely felt really good to get that one."

Eric Gryba, Benoit Pouliot, Leon Draisaitl and Jordan Eberle scored for the Oilers (20-26-5), who ended a three-game losing streak.

Matt Calvert scored for the Blue Jackets (19-28-5), who lost for the first time in three games.

Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot made 36 saves; Korpisalo had 30.

"He's definitely as advertised," Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said of McDavid. "He's a heck of a player and is going to be a good one for a long time."

Video: CBJ@EDM: Calvert nets feed after Korpisalo's saves

McDavid helped set up the Oilers' third goal on the power play at 16:32 of the second period. He gave the puck to defenseman Andrej Sekera at the point, and Sekera's shot was tipped in front by Pouliot for his 11th goal.

In the third period, McDavid came close to scoring a second goal, racing in on a breakaway, but he lifted his backhand shot wide.

McDavid set up Eberle at 14:41 of the third for his second assist and a 5-1 Oilers lead. With Edmonton on the power play, McDavid initially was stopped in close by Korpisalo but regained the puck behind the net and passed it to Eberle in front.

"To have a player like that back in your lineup is huge," Gryba said. "And as you could see, he hasn't lost a step. He has so much speed and vision and playmaking ability through the middle, we need that. It's nice to have him back."

Video: CBJ@EDM: Draisaitl nets Hall's great feed

Calvert gave Columbus a 1-0 lead 11:37 into the first period, converting a pass from Scott Hartnell on a 2-on-1 rush. The Blue Jackets were being outshot 13-2 at that point.

Edmonton scored four goals in the second period to pull away.

Gryba tied it 1-1 at 3:01 of the second period with a shot from the blue line that went through traffic and over Korpisalo's shoulder.

McDavid's goal gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead. Less than 30 seconds after Pouliot's power-play goal, Draisaitl converted a centering pass from Taylor Hall to put Edmonton up 4-1.

Video: CBJ@EDM: Pouliot deflects shot for a 3-1 lead

"We played a better second period than we did in the first, but they scored four goals," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We had a couple of major breakdowns. We developed some offense in the second and third periods, but we made some key mistakes and they capitalized, and it was game over."

McDavid had an impact from the opening shift, drawing a tripping penalty 26 seconds into the game and nearly scoring on the ensuing power play.

"I think what really helped was the opening shift," McDavid said. "I was obviously feeling a little bit nervous, but to get the puck that many times on an opening shift, it helps to get a little bit of confidence back and feel good for a little bit. I didn't expect to be able to do that or play that kind of game. I was happy with how I felt. My timing and all that felt pretty good. It was one game, though; I have a bunch left."

Video: McDavid has three points, Oilers defeat Blue Jackets

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