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

March 8th marks the very important International Women’s Day. (Internationalwomensday.com)
Kitimat’s Chamber of Commerce Celebrates International Women’s Day

Kitimat’s women in business discuss important topics celebrating International Women’s Day

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)
Kitimat aquarium users warned after invasive mussels found at pet store in Terrace

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball purchased in Terrace

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Northern Health to open 30 COVID vaccine clinics for oldest residents, Indigenous seniors

Health authority says it plans to vaccinate nearly 15,000 people in Phase Two

Alexander Ericksons award-winning piece, The Provider, on display at the Kitimat Museum and Archives (Photo Frieda Design School)
Kitimat Museum and Archives host Freda Diesing school art exhibition

Local Kitimat art exhibition from students of the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art

Security has been stepped up at both Kitimat General Hospital in Kitimat, pictured here, and at the Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace. (File photo)
Stillbirth reaction leads to more hospital security

Staff, physicians facing threats and harassment

(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

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complaints about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

Most Read