The Edmonton Oilers won a rollercoaster of an opener over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.
At one point it was 3-0 for the Canucks but the Oilers stormed all the way back to get the win. Connor McDavid led the way with a hat trick with Leon Draisaitl right behind him a three-point night of his own. Jack Campbell was solid in his Oilers debut.
How’d we get here? I’m glad you asked...
It wasn’t the start Oilers fans dreamed of.
Dylan Holloway, on his first shift of the season, had a pass picked off by Elias Pettersson who drove the net and forced it passed Jack Campbell. Canucks pick up the early 1-0 lead.
On the next shift, JT Miller took it down the left side and ripped a shot over Campbell’s shoulder. Vancouver only had four shots, but they had a 2-0 lead.
Not exactly the first impression Campbell wanted to make.
The nightmare start continued with Connor McDavid getting called a cross-check, which gave Vancouver a chance to make it 3-0 less than five minutes in. Luckily, the bleeding seemed to stop.
The Oilers started to turn things up after killing the penalty. Zach Hyman hopped on a puck that Thatcher Demko got a blocker on and then set up Jesse Puljujarvi for a beautiful chance. However, Demko was on his A-game and got across to deny the Finn.
Officiating was having a night as well, as they nicked Puljujarvi with a poor holding call just as the Oilers were getting something going. Oilers once again killed it off.
The period would end 2-0 but not without some more drama. Darnell Nurse followed up on an Evander Kane hit as the buzzer rang....and it was another penalty to start the second period.
Edmonton had some moments but it wasn’t enough to outweigh the bad. 2-0 Vancouver after 20 minutes.
This one didn’t start much better than the last. Andrei Kuzmenko gave the Canucks a 3-0 lead after tapping in a pass from Miller. It’s the worst lead in hockey...right?
The one-sided penalty calls finally came to an end about four minutes into the period. A crucial moment for the Oilers if they wanted to get back in the game and they took advantage. After causing chaos in front of the net the Oilers reset and Leon Draisaitl finished. 3-1 game with plenty of time left.
Edmonton made things interesting on another powerplay later in the period. An astonishing passing play between Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Hyman, and Draisaitl ended with McDavid slamming it into the net. 3-2 game!
Evan Bouchard nearly tied things up on an odd-man rush one-timer that Demko had to scramble to kick out of danger.
It didn’t matter as the Oilers got a rare shorthanded 3-on-1 where Draisaitl fed Nurse who powered it into the back of the net. 3-3 game as the Oilers come back to tie it up.
They were giving us a game to watch, that’s for sure. Tie game going into the third.
This was the best period of the game for the Oilers. With the game tied and the pre-game jitters all out of the way, the Oilers were much more confident on the ice. Most impressively was Campbell, who was arguably the team’s best player down the stretch.
McDavid completed the comeback with just under five minutes as he got his own rebound in tight. four unanswered goals for the Oilers to take a 4-3 lead.
Vancouver had a late powerplay to try to knot things back but it was negated with just over two minutes left in the period. A major break for the Oilers as they tried to close things out.
And close it out they did. Evander Kane would sacrifice an empty net goal and give it to McDavid to complete the hat trick. The Oilers storm all the way back to secure the 5-3 win!
What a way to open things up.
- It was a tale of two games for Jack Campbell tonight...and by that I mean the first five minutes of the game and the rest of it. It was a brutal start by Edmonton’s new starter but he settled in nicely as the game went on. I won’t put too much blame on the Kuzmenko goal since that was due to poor defensive structure.
- Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl...what more can I say. So, so good.
- Tough break for Dylan Holloway on his first shift. If that was a veteran I would’ve been all over him but, considering the circumstances, I will turn a blind eye. The best is yet to come from 55.
- I will say I was underwhelmed with Evan Bouchard in this first game. It’s early and I’m still the leader of the Bouchard fan club...but I’ll be fair.
- I liked Puljujarvi’s game tonight, he had a positive impact every time he was on the ice. Keep the kid, he’s a gamer.
- Ryan Murray was sneaky good tonight, I like him as a third-pairing guy.
- Zach Hyman looks like Zach Hyman, that's a compliment. Love how he plays.
- Evander Kane’s game got better as the game went on. I thought he looked a bit slow and uninvolved for the first half but he started to buzz around the net for the remainder. Hopefully, that becomes the norm.
- That sloppy start can be attributed to Edmonton being fully unprepared for Vancouver’s transition game. Way too many odd-man rushes and not enough guys back to defend.
- Discipline. Discipline. Discipline. The Oilers took way too many penalties tonight. Chalk it up to first-game jitters but we saw this all preseason as well. Gotta clamp down on the trips to the box.
- The Oilers are UNDEFEATED! They win the opener over the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 to improve 1-0-0. They will look to keep the good times rolling when the Calgary Flames come to town on Saturday.