EDMONTON — Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists as the Edmonton Oilers opened the 2019-20 NHL season with a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.
Connor McDavid broke a 2-2 deadlock with five-and-a-half minutes to play, splitting the defence before beating Markstrom to the blocker side on a strong solo effort.
Zack Kassian also scored for the Oilers (1-0-0), who won their sixth straight season opener.
Alexander Edler and Tanner Pearson replied for the Canucks (0-1-0), who had won their previous five season-openers.
The Oilers started the scoring six minutes into the first period when Kassian won a battle in the crease and feed the puck out to Draisaitl, who beat Canucks starter Jacob Markstrom.
Edmonton goalie Mike Smith kept that lead intact through the first, making a huge toe save on J.T. Miller.
Vancouver tied the game 12 minutes into the second period shortly after a power play expired as a long-range bomb by Edler seemed to hit something in front and get past Smith.
The Canucks took a 2-1 lead midway through the third as a point blast by Tyler Myers was tipped past Smith by Pearson.
Just over a minute later, the Oilers knotted the game back up as Kassian picked the top corner after taking a pass from Draisaitl.
Smith ended up with 31 saves. Markstrom stopped 19 shots.
Both teams return to action Saturday. The Oilers host the Los Angeles Kings, while the Canucks head to Calgary to face the Flames.
Notes: It was Dave Tippett’s debut as head coach of the Oilers, having won 553 NHL games as a coach in 14 seasons with the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars. Notable players making their debuts for Edmonton included forward James Neal and Smith in net… Among those making their debuts for the Canucks were rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes, forwards Miller and Micheal Ferland and defencemen Myers and Jordie Benn… It is the 50th season for the Canucks, who have opted not to officially name their captain for this season until their home opener.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2019.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press