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

Another member of the Peterson Road Elementary School community has tested positive for COVID-19, the Langley school district reported Saturday. (Undated Google Street View image)
Another COVID-19 case reported at Peterson Road Elementary School

School has reported two positive tests in two days

A crash in the 8600 block of Glover Road on Saturday night March 6, 2021 cut power to 1,000 BC Hydro customers in the for more than seven hours (Curtis Kreklau/South Fraser News Services)
Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of March 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Seveya Jepsen is inviting people to stop by her Pet Food Drive on Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Jepsen family/Special to the Langley Advance Time)
Langley girl’s 10th birthday goes to the dogs, and cats, and rabbits

Seveya Jepsen is concerned that animals have enough food so she’s hosting a pet food drive.

The Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read