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game recap

Connor McDavid helps Oilers open arena with win

Captain scores twice against Flames in first regular-season game at Rogers Place

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had two goals and an assist in a 7-4 win against the Calgary Flames in the first regular-season game at Rogers Place on Wednesday.

McDavid scored twice in a 2:20 span in the second period to break a 3-3 tie.

The No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft took a rebound off the end boards on a shot from defenseman Andrej Sekera and lifted the puck over Flames goaltender Brian Elliott at 12:17 to give the Oilers a 4-3 lead. McDavid then scored on a penalty shot at 14:33 to put Edmonton up 5-3.

"He was tremendous tonight as he's been since we went to the World Cup," said Oilers coach Todd McLellan said, who also coached McDavid for Team North America. "You need that type of night from your captain, especially when you're putting up a new building where there is some excitement and a little bit of jitters. For a 19-year-old to settle you down like that is remarkable, credit to him and the followers for following him. It wasn't a Picasso by any means, but we got the win and that's what's important."

Video: CGY@EDM: McDavid backhands home rebound

Patrick Maroon, Tyler Pitlick, Zack Kassian, Jesse Puljujarvi (his first NHL goal) and Jordan Eberle scored for Edmonton. Goaltender Cam Talbot made 37 saves.

Alex Chiasson, Troy Brouwer, Michael Frolik and Dennis Wideman scored for Calgary. Elliott made 21 saves in his first game with the Flames.

"It was kind of one of those nights where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong," Elliott said. "That's not the way you want to start the season. The good thing is we have these guys back at home [Friday] and we'll get back to the drawing board."

Maroon scored the first goal in the Oilers' new arena on their first shot at 1:10 of the first period, tipping the puck past Elliott. Chiasson tied the game 1-1 at 1:46. Pitlick put Edmonton up 2-1 on their second shot, beating Elliott from the right face-off circle on a 2-on-1 at 5:34.

Video: CGY@EDM: Maroon deflects Draisaitl's shot in for goal

Kassian scored on a breakaway at 15:12 to give the Oilers a 3-1 lead.

"The anticipation for this game was huge and the fans were excited and all the greats [Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr] were in the building," McDavid said. "It was an exciting night for our whole organization and it was a good way to start it. I'm kind of happy it's over. I'll definitely take a lot of good memories from tonight and move on with those. But it's over [and] we can kind of get back to the day-to-day routine."

Calgary tied the game in the second period with two shorthanded goals on consecutive Edmonton power plays. Brouwer scored at 8:26 and Frolik tied the game 3-3 at 10:51.

McDavid restored Edmonton's lead and then scored on a penalty shot after being hooked by Wideman on a breakaway.

"I actually thought it should have been a penalty shot, [the referee] made the right call," McDavid said. "When you have a clear-cut breakaway like that and you get it knocked off your stick, it should be a penalty shot every time. It was a good call."

Puljujarvi scored on a power play at 9:00 of the third period to give Edmonton a 6-3 lead. Wideman scored on the power play at 11:29 to make it 6-4.

Eberle scored into an empty net at 18:38.

"I didn't think we were direct enough. We didn't execute our game plan," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "There were lots of turnovers, which feeds their attack, which is high-end. They like a lot of chances off the rush and a lot of them we fed them. We need to clean that up."

Video: CGY@EDM: Puljujarvi scores first career goal

 

Goal of the game

Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom made a long pass out of his zone to Zack Kassian behind the Flames defense. Kassian went in on a breakaway and beat Elliott on the backhand to give Edmonton a 3-1 lead in the first period.

Video: CGY@EDM: Kassian dekes Elliott on breakaway for goal

 

Save of the game

From behind the net, McDavid sent a pass out front to Jordan Eberle in the slot. Eberle one-timed a shot, but Elliott made an outstanding glove save to keep Edmonton from extending its lead to 4-1 in the second period.

Video: CGY@EDM: Elliott robs Eberle with nice glove save

 
Unsung moment of the game

On the power play, Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau took a shot that slid underneath Talbot, but it hit the goal post on the far side of the net. Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson dove into the crease and was able to clear the puck from danger.

 

Highlight of the game

Gaudreau worked his way into the Oilers zone and dropped a pass that was intercepted by McDavid just inside the blue line. McDavid raced down the ice and past Wideman on his way to the net. Wideman hooked McDavid on the breakaway, and McDavid was awarded a penalty shot. McDavid scored against Elliott and gave Edmonton a 5-3 lead in the second period.

Video: CGY@EDM: McDavid dekes for goal on penalty shot

 

They said it

"Any time you give up two shorthanded goals, you're not usually going to win. Good job on us to find a way to win, but there are a lot of areas to improve on as well." -- Oilers captain Connor McDavid

 

"I'm just lucky that it actually hit me. I was just going to the front of the net. I think it hit off my shin pad or my pants, but I was just trying to get to the dirty areas. But it's the first goal in Rogers Place history, so it's special." -- Oilers forward Patrick Maroon

 

"It's real credit to his family and to the Oilers, and he's going to be a really great player for years to come." -- Wayne Gretzky on Connor McDavid

 

Need to know

The opening ceremony of Rogers Place featured Hockey Hall of Fame members Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier skating out on the ice and leaving a puck at center ice. McDavid then came out to lead the Oilers warm-up, picked up the puck and put it into the net.

Video: CGY@EDM: Gretzky, Messier honored at Rogers Place

 

What's next

Oilers: Visit the Calgary Flames on Friday (9 p.m., ET, SN 360, SN1)

Flames: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Friday (9 p.m., ET, SN 360, SN1)

 

Video: McDavid lifts Oilers by Flames on opening night, 7-4

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