The Edmonton Oilers scored three goals in the third period to down the Los Angeles Kings 6-5.
Connor McDavid opened the scoring 53 seconds into the game when his centring pass went in off Kings defenceman Matt Roy.
The Kings scored the next two goals, both off giveaways by Mike Smith. Dustin Brown had an open net after Anze Kopitar intercepted Smith’s clearing pass. Five minutes later, Kyle Clifford stole the puck from Smith behind the net and centred it to Trevor Lewis, who made it 2-1.
“I’ve got a history with him. He’s a battler,” head coach Dave Tippett said. “Maybe if it kept going south, but we were still in the game at 3-2. You’re going to let him battle through that one.”
LISTEN BELOW: Dave Tippett
“It’s not the first time and it wont be the last time, but I think if you take the percentage of how many good plays he makes versus how many times he messes up, I’ll take that all day,” Leon Draisaitl said of his goaltender.
LISTEN BELOW: Leon Draisaitl
James Neal banged in power play rebound for his first goal as an Oiler, but Kopitar responded by sneaking a shot past Smith to make it 3-2 Kings after one.
Zack Kassian scored the only goal of the second period, tapping in a goal-mouth feed from Leon Draisaitl.
Michael Amadio put the Kings ahead again early in the third, but Joakim Nygard flipped in a rebound shortly after for his first carer goal. Gaetan Haas assisted on the play for his first NHL point.
LISTEN BELOW: Joakim Nygard
“Those guys stepped up at the right moment, when we needed them. You need guys stepping up at different times,” Draisaitl said.
Drew Doughty blasted in a power play goal to make it 5-4 Kings. Tomas Jurco made a pretty individual play to set up Darnell Nurse to pull the Oilers even again.
“I thought we gave it our all but in the end, we lost the game and we should never lose a game when we’re up 5-4 with how ever many minutes left,” Doughty said. “Literally they scored a minute later. It can’t happen.”
With 6:32 left, Neal jammed home a power play goal. But with 45 seconds left, Neal found himself in the box for tripping Kopitar. The Oilers were able to kill it off to preserve the win.
“At the end of the day it builds that belief in winning and that we can win games in different ways,” Neal said.
LISTEN BELOW: James Neal
McDavid had four points. The game marked Todd McLellan’s return to Edmonton. He went 123-119-24 with the Oilers before being fired last November.
“You’re kind of in awe,” McLellan said of McDavid. “His ability to create using speed. He doesn’t always have to score but he creates opportunities for his teammates and he creates penalty situations. I think we were short 6 times and I’m sure he drew 2 or 3 of them. He’s one of the top, if not the best player in the league for a reason.”
The 2-0 Oilers visit the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
–with files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott and Scott Johnston