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game recap

McDavid, Eberle help Oilers defeat Maple Leafs

Forwards combine for nine points in win

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

Eberle collects hat trick

TOR@EDM: Eberle earns hat trick on empty-netter

2/11/16: Jordan Eberle finishes an empty-net goal to earn his first career hat trick, sealing the Oilers' 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs

  • 01:35 •

EDMONTON -- Jordan Eberle got his first career NHL hat trick, and Connor McDavid had his first five-point game to lift the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rexall Place on Thursday.

McDavid scored twice and assisted on each of Eberle's goals in his first game against the Maple Leafs, who he rooted for as a kid. Linemate Benoit Pouliot had four assists.

"It's pretty special, looking across and seeing that [Maple Leafs] logo during warmup kind of gave me the chills," said McDavid, who is from Richmond Hill, Ontario. "So it was special to have a game like that against them. We needed this. There was a lot of pressure on us coming in, playing against a team that was desperate and missing a lot of guys. They played a great game in terms of structure and not giving up too much. But it was a big night for us to start off the homestand."

Video: TOR@EDM: McDavid finishes break for the first goal

Eberle, who has 17 two-goal games in his NHL career, scored into an empty net with 54 seconds left for his first hat trick. The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Oilers (22-29-5).

"I think the more we play together, the better we will be," Eberle said. "Tonight was obviously our best, we put up goals and whatnot, but it was the little plays that I really liked. Coming out of our end, cycling, I thought we did a better job of that. Chemistry is not something you get right away, you've got to grow it a bit."

McDavid opened the scoring 3:29 into the first period on a breakaway, taking a pass from Pouliot and beating Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

Josh Leivo tied it 1-1 at 8:06 of the first, capitalizing on an Edmonton turnover at center ice and snapping a shot over Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot. Later in the period, Leivo left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return.

Video: TOR@EDM: Eberle finishes deflected shot for 2-1 lead

Eberle scored to give the Oilers a 2-1 lead at 6:25 of the second period, sending a shot past Bernier after the puck bounced to him at the side of the net. He scored the game-winning goal on the power play with 1:24 left in the second, taking a cross-ice feed from McDavid and lifting a shot over Bernier.

Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner scored with 14.5 seconds left in the second to make it 3-2.

McDavid scored his second of the game and ninth of the season at 13:55 of the third period to give the Oilers a 4-2 lead, taking a pass in the slot from Pouliot and snapping a shot past Bernier.

"[McDavid's] performance did all the speaking," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "You turn into a fan as a coach and as a player and just admire what he and his linemates did. That's as well as Jordan has played all year, all over the rink. Benoit Pouliot, the three of them had a tremendous night. Thank goodness, because we didn't have many others going."

Talbot made 34 saves; Bernier had 30.

Video: TOR@EDM: McDavid pads the lead with top-shelf goal

The Maple Leafs (19-25-9) have lost three in a row and seven of nine (2-5-2).

It was the sixth game Eberle and McDavid have played on a line together. Eberle missed the first 13 games of the season with a shoulder injury sustained in a preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes and did not return to the lineup until after McDavid fractured his left clavicle Nov. 3 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

McDavid missed 37 games because of the injury.

"You just watch the stuff [McDavid] can do, the little things most players don't see," Gardiner said. "He was in on all five goals tonight. He is definitely a guy you'll have to be aware of. He's right up there with the best guys in the League, for sure. Such a young guy, to be this good is surprising, for sure. I've heard a lot of things about him, but actually seeing him play, he's pretty good."

Video: TOR@EDM: Eberle finishes McDavid's feed for PPG

McDavid had chances for his first NHL hat trick in the third period before Eberle scored into the empty net to get his.

"We were kind of talking about it on the bench, when we were going out, who was going to get it," Eberle said. "I think we're doing a good job of understanding each other. We were really just trying to talk it out. We've only played a few games together, but the chemistry has been building a little bit, and we saw that tonight."

The Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday in the second of a six-game homestand.

The Maple Leafs continue with the fourth of a five-game road trip Saturday at the Vancouver Canucks.

"[McDavid] is a real good player," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "We worked hard, had lots of chances, and they were able to capitalize on theirs. The kid was involved in all of their goals, and if you're Eberle and you have some skill, you're pretty thankful you're playing with him."

Video: McDavid, Eberle power Oilers past Maple Leafs

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