Edmonton’s devastating power play looks like it is as potent as ever heading into another season.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl scored third period power-play goals 55 seconds apart as the Edmonton Oilers rallied past the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Monday. The Oilers power play has led the NHL the past two seasons.
“Putting yourself down 3-0 isn’t a great recipe for success, but we have some offensive talent and we can work our way out of games and I liked that about our game tonight,” McDavid said. “The most successful power plays are usually the ones that stick together the longest and we have been playing together for two straight years and even beyond that. I think it is a dangerous power play.
“We’ll find a way to put it in the back of your net. It is a good unit and fun to be a part of it.”
Veteran defenceman Duncan Keith finally suited up for the Oilers for the first time after being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in an off-season trade. He admitted to being somewhat in awe of Edmonton with the man advantage.
“It’s impressive what those guys can do,” he said. “I have played a while now and haven’t seen a power play like that before. It is definitely a weapon of ours that is good to have.”
Brendan Perlini and Jesse Puljujarvi also scored for the Oilers (4-1-1), who have won two straight.
Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm replied for the Flames (2-3-1), who had a two-game winning streak halted.
“It felt like the regular season for me,” Tkachuk said. “Two teams that will probably have pretty similar lineups when we play them in a couple of weeks. They got this one tonight, but hopefully we win when it starts to matter.”
It appeared that Calgary’s Milan Lucic had scored five minutes into the game, but the goal was called back after a challenge showed that the Flames were offside on the play.
Tkachuk took advantage of a Darnell Nurse giveaway 11 minutes into the game and lifted a puck off of the arm of Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen and in for his third of the pre-season.
Calgary added another one with 1:15 left in the first as another giveaway sprung Gaudreau on a break and he beat Koskinen high to the glove side.
Lindholm fired home a one-timer on a feed from behind the net by Tkachuk to make it 3-0 for Calgary midway through the game.
Edmonton finally got on the board with eight minutes left in the second period as Perlini chipped a shot past Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom for his fifth of the pre-season. They then closed to within one just over a minute later as Draisaitl fed it in front to a hard-charging Puljujarvi, who scored his fourth.
The Oilers tied the game 3-3 nine minutes into the third period on the power play as McDavid was tripped up as he charged the net with the puck and took out Markstrom, then getting hit by the puck on a Puljujarvi shot and being credited with the goal.
Calgary unsuccessfully challenged that goal and received a penalty, giving the Oilers another power-play marker less than a minute later as Draisaitl rifled home a shot from the right circle.
The Flames are back at it on Wednesday as they head to Winnipeg to face the Jets. The Oilers remain home to welcome the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
Notes: Flames defenceman Noah Hanifin and centre Sean Monahan played their first pre-season games after they both came off significant off-season surgeries.