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Edmonton Oilers come back in third to beat Canucks in season opener

WATCH ABOVE: Some recent video about the Edmonton Oilers.

Connor McDavid scored the game-winning goal late in the third period as the Edmonton Oilers downed the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in Wednesday’s season opener at Rogers Place.

Leon Draisaitl, who scored 50 goals last season, opened the scoring for the Oilers before the game was six minutes old. He took a pass from Zack Kassian in front and whipped a shot past Canucks goaltender Jakob Markstrom.

“He’s a mule out there. A mule with soft, soft hands,” Oilers netminder Mike Smith said of Draisaitl after the game. “Connor (McDavid) does his thing, but Leon is a big part of [our success] too and he brings it in a different way.”

READ MORE: Edmonton Oilers fall to Flames in pre-season finale

The Canucks pulled even one second after a power play expired in the second period with Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler banging a point shot past Smith.

The Oilers had several chances on a power play later in the frame but Markstrom came up with the stops.

Listen below: Post-game coverage.

The teams traded goals 1:11 apart midway through the third period. Tanner Pearson tipped a point shot to put the Canucks ahead. Kassian came back with a shot over Markstrom’s glove.

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“I told you guys before the season, he’s a skilled player,” Draisatil said of Kassian. “I don’t think he gets enough credit a lot of the time for his skillset and his hockey sense.”

With 5:23 to go, McDavid split the Canucks’ defence and flipped a shot blocker-side on Markstrom.

“That’s why he’s so good. He makes something happen out of nothing,” Draisaitl said of McDavid. “It’s pretty incredible. I wish I was like that.”

Watch below: Edmonton Oilers forwards Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid speak to reporters after Wednesday’s win against the Canucks.

Oilers players speak about winning home opener against Canucks
Oilers players speak about winning home opener against Canucks

“He’s a good player. You’ve got to give him credit too,” Canucks forward Brandon Sutter said of McDavid. “I thought we did a really good job on him for the most part.

“I’m sure he’ll tell you that too. Our D were up in his face and not giving him much time and space. There were a lot of times where he came back with a ton of speed and when he did, we had guys there. There’s a lot to like about our game tonight and we’ll build on it.” ‚Äč

Listen below: Post-game coverage.

The Canucks applied late pressure with Markstrom pulled. Edler fired a shot off the crossbar in the final second.

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“Honestly, for 50 minutes of that game, I thought we were the dominant team out there and played really well, especially on the road coming into a building like this,” Canucks forward Bo Horvat said.

“They have a pretty good hockey team over there with some really high-end skill, and I thought we weathered the storm there pretty well and took it to them the last 50 minutes, but obviously that’s the way it goes. You have to play a full 60 minutes in order to win.”

Draisaitl had a goal and two assists. Smith made 31 saves.

“Obviously it was a huge team win for our group,” Smith said. “We stuck with it when we got down.

“When we got the lead, I thought we handled ourselves very well and closed a good team out.”

The Oilers are 22-13-5 all-time in season openers. They’ll host the L.A. Kings on Saturday.

— With files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott and Scott Johnston

Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of the Edmonton Oilers.