October 3, 2019 / 5:03 AM / 19 days ago

McDavid guides Oilers past Canucks in opener

EditorsNote: Minor tweaks throughout

Connor McDavid scored the go-ahead goal at 14:37 of the third period as the Edmonton Oilers rallied to defeat the visiting Vancouver Canucks 3-2 Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.

Leon Draisaitl added a goal and two assists for the Oilers, playing their first regular-season game under new coach Dave Tippett. Zack Kassian added a goal and an assist, and defenseman Matt Benning had two assists.

Goaltender Mike Smith, making his Oilers debut after being signed away from the rival Calgary Flames as a free agent, made 31 saves.

Alexander Edler and Tanner Pearson scored for the Canucks, who had won their past five season openers. Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom made 19 saves.

McDavid, a former league MVP and two-time scoring champion, returned after sustaining a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2018-19 regular-season finale.

On the game-winning play, he took a pass from Draisaitl outside the Vancouver blue line and drove down the center of the ice, splitting two Canucks defensemen, before lifting a shot over Markstrom’s blocker and into the net. It was McDavid’s sixth career opening-night goal, breaking the franchise record shared by Wayne Gretzky, Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff.

The score was 1-1 heading into the third period.

Pearson gave the Canucks their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 9:41 of the third by tipping a shot from the point by Tyler Myers over Smith’s shoulder.

Kassian tied the score 1:11 later, taking a cross-ice pass from Draisaitl at the left faceoff circle and beating Markstrom high to the glove side.

Draisaitl opened the scoring at 5:42 of the first period. He won a faceoff in the Vancouver end, and the puck went back to Benning at the point. Benning’s shot was stopped by Markstrom, but Kassian was able to corral the rebound and passed to a wide-open Draisaitl near the right post. Draisaitl put the puck over a sprawling Markstrom and into the net.

Edler tied the score at 11:58 of the second period with a low slap shot from the point, one second after an Edmonton penalty for too many men on the ice had expired.

—Field Level Media

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