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game recap

McDavid goal in third boosts Oilers to win against Canucks in opener

Draisaitl has three points for Edmonton; Miller gets assist in Vancouver debut

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

McDavid scores go-ahead goal

VAN@EDM: McDavid uses speed to put Oilers on top

Connor McDavid motors through a seam in the defense and beats Jacob Markstrom by the blocker to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead in the 3rd

  • 01:02 •

EDMONTON -- Connor McDavid scored the go-ahead goal in the third period for the Edmonton Oilers in a 3-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks in the season opener for each team at Rogers Place on Wednesday.

McDavid split Canucks defensemen Christopher Tanev and Quinn Hughes before beating goalie Jacob Markstrom at 14:37.

"[Matt Benning] made a good play pinching off the puck, threw it in the middle, and [Leon Draisaitl] kind of just stopped it up for me, and I just tried to get it to the net," said McDavid, whose status for the opener was in question at the beginning of training camp after the center tore the PCL in his left knee in Edmonton's season finale against the Calgary Flames on April 6.

 

[WATCH: All Canucks vs. Oilers highlights]

 

Draisaitl had a goal and two assists, Zack Kassian had a goal and assist, and Mike Smith made 31 saves in his Oilers debut. It was Dave Tippett's first game as Edmonton coach.

"I felt pretty good," Draisaitl said. "We made it easy on each other. We played simple, we played hard, and we did what we had to do to beat this team. That's a good hockey team over there, and it's a big two points for us."

Video: VAN@EDM: Draisaitl goes top shelf for early lead

Alexander Edler and Tanner Pearson scored for the Canucks, and Markstrom made 19 saves.

"All in all, it was definitely a good road game for us, but there were a couple of minutes that we'd like to have back," Pearson said. "That's the way it goes, those minutes can cost you the game. You give [McDavid] a tad bit of ice, he's going to take a mile. It was an unfortunate play, and we were battling back the rest of the game."

Draisaitl scored 5:42 into the first period off a pass from Kassian to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead.

Edler tied the game 1-1 on a redirection in front at 11:58 of the second period, one second after a too many men on the ice penalty against the Oilers expired.

Pearson gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead at 9:41 of the third when he tipped a point shot from Tyler Myers.

"I don't like the end result, but I thought the first eight to 10 minutes of the game was probably our worst, and then we got our feet under us," Vancouver coach Travis Green said. "There is probably a three-minute span in the third I'd like to have back, but for the first road game of the year, we did a lot of good things, and it's disheartening we didn't get a point out of it."

Kassian tied it 2-2 at 10:52 on a shot from the left face-off circle off a cross-ice pass from Draisaitl.

Video: VAN@EDM: Kassian goes bar down for equalizer

 

They said it

"He's going to make plays like that. He comes up the middle all the time, and maybe we were a half step too late on him. We're not going to dwell on it too much. He's a good player, you have to give him credit. I thought tonight we did a really good job on him for the most part." -- Canucks forward Brandon Sutter on Connor McDavid's winning goal

"I thought we did a lot of good things out there, it was a huge team win for our group. We never crumbled there when we got down 2-1, and obviously I love to win, so it feels good to get that first one under our belts here." -- Oilers goalie Mike Smith

"I didn't like how much we defended or how many attempts we gave up at our net. But I liked how much we competed to try and defend our net. Our puck play has to improve, but how hard we looked to compete, it was pretty good." -- Oilers coach Dave Tippett

 

Need to know

The Oilers have won four straight home openers. ... The Canucks lost for the first time in six season openers. ... Edler has 31 points (9 goals, 22 assists) in 59 games against Edmonton, the most on Vancouver. ... Hughes played 23:07 in his first season opener, second to Edler's 25:40 for the Canucks. ... Draisaitl played a game-high 26:46. ... James Neal had two shots on goal and four hits in 14:11 in his Oilers debut. ... It was Tippett's first game as NHL coach since April 8, 2017, with the Arizona Coyotes.

 

What's next

Canucks: At the Calgary Flames on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SNP, NHL.TV)

Oilers: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CITY, SNE, SNO, SNW, FS-W, NHL.TV)

Video: McDavid scores in 3rd as Oilers rally past Canucks

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