Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) makes a move to get past Vancouver Canucks’ Alexander Edler (23) during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) makes a move to get past Vancouver Canucks’ Alexander Edler (23) during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Connor McDavid nets hat trick as Oilers cruise past Canucks 5-2

Edmonton avenges opening-night NHL loss to Vancouver

Connor McDavid scored a hat trick and added an assist as the host Edmonton Oilers beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 Thursday for their first win of the NHL season.

Leon Draisaitl, the NHL’s top scorer last season, added four assists in the win.

The game was held in front of no fans and empty stands at Rogers Place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and added an assist for Edmonton. Mikko Koskinen, making his second start in two nights, turned back 38 shots for the win.

Nate Schmidt and Tyler Motte replied for Vancouver and Thatcher Demko stopped 41 shots in the loss. Vancouver defenceman Quinn Hughes had an assist and now has three on the season.

Both teams now have one win and one loss in what will be an abbreviated 56-game season, with all seven Canadian teams playing each other exclusively in the North Division.

McDavid, second to Draisaitl in the NHL scoring race last year, was held off the scoresheet in Edmonton’s 5-3 loss to Vancouver Wednesday but buzzed the Canuck net all night Thursday. Draisaitl now has five points on the year – all assists. The Oilers also got their power play back on track. They scored twice with the man advantage after going 0 for 4 in Wednesday’s opener. Edmonton had the top power play in the NHL last season at 29.5 per cent effectiveness.

The game saw Edmonton hold the edge in play, but the Canucks refused to go away.

Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring on the power play at 7:59 of the first period. He jumped on the rebound when a Draisaitl wrist shot clanged off the post, backhanding the puck over the goal line. McDavid made it 2-0 on an extraordinary goal with less than one second to go in the period. Draisaitl won the faceoff to Demko’s left, drew the puck back to Kailer Yamamoto, who fired the puck off Demko’s pad. McDavid drove to the net and, with Canuck defender Schmidt draped all over him, flipped the puck up and under the crossbar.

There were four goals in the second period. Schmidt made it 2-1 when he blasted a low slapshot from the point through traffic that bounded in and out of the net so fast it wasn’t immediately clear it had gone in. McDavid then restored the two-goal lead, on the power play, racing at full speed into the Canuck zone, catching Vancouver defender Alex Edler flat footed, cutting inside and delivering a no-look blazing wrist shot stick side and in.

READ MORE: Boeser scores 2, Vancouver Canucks dump Edmonton 5-3 in NHL season opener

Motte brought Vancouver back to within one, deflecting a low blue-line slapshot from Travis Hamonic past Koskinen. Then McDavid again, jumping in front of Demko, taking a pass from Draisaitl and jamming the puck in on the rebound for his seventh NHL regular season hat trick. The last time he got a hat trick was also in front of no fans, in early August against the Chicago Blackhawks in the so-called bubbled play-in round to determine the 2019-20 season playoff seeding.

After he scored in August, arena staff hustled down the stairs and honoured hockey tradition by tossing ball caps over the glass and onto the ice to mark the hat trick. McDavid later said he found the lid toss an unnecessary distraction. This time, no hat toss.

Edmonton made it 5-2 with just over eight minutes left in the game. Nugent-Hopkins drove to the net through traffic and redirected a Yamamoto pass past Demko.

Notes: It was the second of 10 meetings between the two teams. Vancouver now heads to Calgary for games on Saturday and Monday. Edmonton hosts Montreal on those same two nights. Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner was called up from the taxi squad to back up Koskinen after Mike Smith was declared inactive.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanuckshockeyNHLVancouver

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

The City of Penticton is redirecting $150,000 for emergency repair work on Penticton Creek. (Western News File)
Grant delays force Penticton to redirect funds for emergency creek repairs

Council approved redirecting $150K to do repairs before the spring melt

Penticton City Hall. (File photo)
Penticton council ups construction costs

Council approved an interim increase of 25 per cent to all of the city’s development cost charges

A town was constructed on the side of a mountain top in Hedley to extract 7.1 tonnes of gold. (Mascotmine.com photo)
Hedley’s Mascot Mine gets $800,000 lift from COVID relief program

Grant will enable the historic mine to open again for tourists

Pathways Addictions Centre is in jeopardy of closing after Interior Health has pulled all its funding and will be taking over addiction services ‘in house’ as up May 31. (Facebook)
Future of Penticton addictions centre in jeopardy after Interior Health pulls funding

Pathways has been in Penticton for over 20 years and has 10 staff, serving around 1,000 people

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has cleared the Lumby RCMP of any wrongdoing after a missing person was found deceased in December 2020. (IIO photo)
Police watchdog says North Okanagan RCMP played no role in missing person’s death

The body was found by a family member shortly after the RCMP suspended their search

The images are of Bald Eagles feeding.
Photos: Birds of prey

Princeton photographer captures compelling photos of a Bald Eagle breakfast

HOPE Okanagan’s Stay at Home Gala will raise funds to help serve Kelowna and Vernon’s vulnerable. (HOPE Okanagan)
Non-profit hosts virtual gala to support Okanagan’s vulnerable

HOPE Okanagan wants to raise awareness and support for those struggling in the streets

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

An off-duty Vernon Taxi driver got a 24-hour licence suspension, vehicle towed, after failing a standardized field sobriety test around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (John E Green - Facebook)
Vernon Taxi towed after driver suspected impaired

Off-duty cab towed from McDonald’s drive-thru early Tuesday morning

Kamloops This Week
Cause of Kamloops landfill fire may never be known

Fire investigators are dealing with too much destruction in too large an area

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

Most Read