The Oilers host the St. Louis Blues for their 2015-16 home opener on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. MT. You can listen to it live on 630 CHED or watch on Sportsnet Oilers.
DALLAS, TX – Connor McDavid scored his first NHL goal and Anders Nilsson made 48 saves, but Jason Spezza’s hat trick spoiled the Oilers night and handed the visitors a 4-2 loss.
“We weren’t in that game,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “To be as close as we were at the end was a little misleading, I think. Anybody who sat and watched that knows we weren’t within a goal by any means. Fortunate to be there at the end. I thought Anders made some tremendous saves. Obviously, on one or two of the goals he’d probably like to have them back but I don’t know how you could be disappointed in his performance.”
Nilsson made his first start of the season in net for the Oilers and was tested early.
The 6-foot-5 Swedish goalie was peppered in the first period, as the Stars outshot Edmonton 18-9. Nilsson made a few big saves that period, including a couple point-blank chances by Antoine Roussel and Patrick Eaves. However, it was Spezza who cracked the puzzle that was Nilsson at 17:48 of the opening frame.
Spezza tossed a shot from the wall and it snuck past Nilsson’s glove and the post. Mattias Janmark and John Klingberg recorded the helpers.
Nilsson finished the night with 48 saves on 51 shots faced. The Oilers were outshot 52-28 for the game.
“I faced a few shots,” said Nilsson. “It’s always nice to see some shots but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the saves I needed to today. I think I let in a few easy goals today so I wish I could have them back.”
It didn’t take long into the second for the Stars to go up 2-0. Jamie Benn scored on a wraparound, assisted by Jyrki Jokipakka and Tyler Seguin.
Edmonton made it a 2-1 game when defenceman Oscar Klefbom’s point shot deflected in off Dallas forward Vernon Fiddler. The goal, at 10:55 of the second, was assisted by Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov.
McDavid, the 2015 first-overall pick, scored his first NHL goal at 12:18 of the middle frame, redirecting in an Andrej Sekera shot.
“The puck went from low to high and there was a little bit of a seam there,” said McDavid. “I just tried to find some open ice and I was lucky enough to get a stick on it.”
McDavid’s career first tied the game at 2-2.
“It’s pretty special, obviously,” he said. “It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Not the way you want to end that game, but it’s pretty special to get it out of the way.”
Edmonton nearly took their first lead of the night when Yakupov had a breakaway chance on Kari Lehtonen in the game’s final five minutes. The Stars, however, came right back and Spezza potted his second of the game to make it 3-2 Dallas at 15:30 of the third.
The Stars knew just how to close out a victory, outshooting the Oilers 20-6 in the third period. Spezza completed the hat trick at 19:04 when he scored an empty-net goal.