Connor McDavid scored a hat trick and added an assist as the Edmonton Oilers battled back from a 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 victory over the visiting Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.
Leon Draisaitl recorded a goal and two assists while Darnell Nurse also scored for the Oilers (1-0) in their home opener.
Goaltender Jack Campbell made 33 saves in the victory.
Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller and Andrei Kuzmenko all scored for the Canucks (0-1). Thatcher Demko stopped 20-of-24 shots he faced in the loss.
Edmonton looked to have the jitters to start the contest and the Canucks took advantage, establishing an early 2-0 lead less than three minutes in.
Just 1:49 into the opening period, Oilers rookie forward Dylan Holloway coughed up the puck to Pettersson who had a clear lane to the net and was able to fish his own rebound out of the feet of Campbell and slip it in for a goal.
51 seconds later, Miller picked the top corner with a bullet past Campbell to double the lead.
FIRST GAME ✅
FIRST GOAL ✅ pic.twitter.com/RongXxBBin
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 13, 2022
Vancouver made it 3-0 on the power play just 39 seconds into the middle period as Miller made a perfect pass to give Kuzmenko a backdoor tap-in for his first goal in his NHL debut. Kuzmenko is the first player in Canucks history to score a power-play goal in his debut.
Edmonton got on the board 4:12 into the second frame as Draisaitl took a deflected pass at the side of the net and slammed it past Demko on a power play. The goal came with some controversy, however, as Evander Kane caught Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes with a high stick to the face that went uncalled despite causing Hughes to bleed.
The Oilers pulled to within a goal with another power-play marker 14:01 into the second as a perfect three-way passing play saw the puck go from Zach Hyman to Draisaitl and then to McDavid for his first of the season.
Edmonton pulled even in dramatic fashion with 41 seconds left in the period on a two-on-one shorthanded break as Draisaitl fed it across to Nurse, who beat Demko with a one-timer.
The Oilers took their first lead 15:01 into the third period as McDavid orchestrated a give-and-go with Hyman before depositing his own rebound past Demko. It was McDavid’s 700th career point, becoming the sixth fastest player to hit the mark, only needing 488 games.
McDavid completed the hat trick with 25 seconds left as Kane dropped it back to him for an empty-net power-play goal, setting off a flurry of hats thrown onto the ice.
NOTES: It is the fourth consecutive season the Oilers began their campaign with a home game against the Canucks. In 2019, Edmonton defeated Vancouver 3-2, in 2020 Vancouver won 5-3 and last season, the Oilers won 3-2 in a shootout after allowing a pair of Vancouver Canucks in the back half of the third period … Edmonton came into the game with a 23-15-4 record in season openers, while Vancouver was 27-18-4-2 … The Oilers defeated Vancouver in all four meetings last season, all one-goal victories … Edmonton starts the season with a six-game homestand and plays nine of its first 12 at Rogers Place … The Canucks play their first five games on the road, waiting until Oct. 22 against Buffalo for their home-opener … Edmonton was without forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Warren Foegele, forcing the cap-hindered squad to go with 11 forwards and six defencemen for the game … Vancouver was without Travis Dermott, Tyler Myers and Ilya Mikheyev. Oilver Ekman-Larsson did not take part in the morning skate but was able to play.
UP NEXT: Both teams return to action on Saturday, with the Canucks playing an afternoon game in Philadelphia against the Flyers. The Oilers will host the Calgary Flames in a rematch of last year’s second round playoff series.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press