ST. LOUIS - Connor McDavid's first impression in the NHL was of a player with jaw-dropping skill but some little things to work on.
The Edmonton Oilers' first-overall pick got two shots goal, stood out in the offensive zone and struggled in the face-off circle in a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night at Scottrade Center.
McDavid skated 22 shifts for 18:25 of ice time as he centred Taylor Hall and Anton Slepyshev. He was on the ice for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' power-play goal that counted when Alex Pietrangelo banked the puck into his own net.
At times, McDavid showed flashes of why he's considered the league's next superstar. In the third period, he blew by Canadian Olympian Jay Bouwmeester down the right wing to get his first shot on net, which Brian Elliott turned aside.
Minutes later, McDavid spun defenders around in the slot for another quality scoring chance. With the puck, he was dangerous on a handful of shifts.
Where McDavid didn't do so well was on faceoffs, as he won only three of his 10 attempts. Bigger, stronger Blues captain David Backes was the opponent giving him the most trouble.
McDavid spent a lot of time at the morning skate working with Nugent-Hopkins on faceoffs.
"We were just talking a little bit about certain guys on their team and what their tendencies are," McDavid said. "I know some of them have, I guess, some pretty good tricks, so he was just trying to give me a heads up on some stuff that I might see."
Canadian world junior teammate and good friend Robby Fabbri, who was also making his NHL debut, stole the show by scoring the game-winning goal.
New Edmonton goaltender Cam Talbot stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced. Elliott, who is from McDavid's hometown of Newmarket, Ont., made 23 saves.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored the Blues' first goal after he got past the Oilers defence and Pietrangelo sprung him on a breakaway.
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