EDMONTON — Once again, Connor McDavid proved to be a problem for the Calgary Flames.
McDavid scored three goals to lead the Edmonton Oilers past Calgary 5-2 on Saturday night for their second straight win to start the season. McDavid has registered 26 goals in 31 career games against the Flames.
McDavid said the real story, however, was getting to face the rival Flames before a fired-up crowd again.
"Playing these guys 10 times last year with no fans got kind of stale," he said. "To have the passion back in the building and the fans as excited as they were, it’s good to see that.
"I thought our boys did a good job of responding and it was a good win for us."
Jesse Puljujarvi had a goal and two assists for Edmonton (2-0-0). Derek Ryan also scored and Leon Draisaitl added three assists while goaltender Mike Smith made 45 saves.
Draisaitl said it has been amazing seeing Puljujarvi’s progression with Edmonton after returning to Finland following his first go-around with the Oilers.
"He's getting better every day," Draisaitl said. “He is hard to play against.
"He has a big body, he skates like the wind and he shoots the puck well. His confidence is coming more and more. It is fun to play with him and to be a part of.”
Andrew Mangiapane and Elias Lindholm scored for the Flames (0-1-0), who have now lost a record 12 consecutive season-opening games.
"I thought we came out a little slow and they were scoring on their power play," Mangiapane said. "They obviously have a good power play.
"I think five-on-five it went pretty decent. We just have to come out a little better and maybe it's a little different tonight.”
The Oilers were first on the scoreboard with seven minutes to play in the opening period. Warren Foegele spun a shot on Flames starter Jacob Markstrom and Ryan was there to convert the rebound.
Edmonton made it 2-0 on the power play with two-and-a-half minutes left in the first. Puljujarvi's shot went off a Calgary stick right to McDavid, who registered first goal of the season.
McDavid scored another power play goal five-and-a-half minutes into the second, firing in a one-timer from near the right face-off circle.
Calgary finally scored midway through the second. Mangiapane was able to track down his own rebound in tight and beat Smith on a backhand shot.
The Flames made it 3-2 five minutes into the third with another man advantage. Matthew Tkachuk made a nice pass from behind the net that allowed Lindholm to score.
However, Edmonton regained it’s two-goal lead 26 seconds later. Cody Ceci sent Puljujarvi in alone and he made no mistake in putting his second of the season past Markstrom.
McDavid recorded his 11th career hat trick into an empty net.
The Flames resume play Monday hosting Anaheim. The Ducks will then head to Edmonton to face the Oilers on Tuesday.
Notes: The Flames were without forward Blake Coleman who was serving a suspension for boarding Winnipeg Jets forward Jansen Harkins on Oct. 6… Calgary dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen… Forward Zack Kassian returned for the Oilers after hitting his head on the ice during a fight in a game against Vancouver on Oct. 7… The last time the Flames won a season-opener was in 2009 when Miikka Kiprusoff was in net. The previous NHL record for season-opening losses was seven.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2021.
The Canadian Press