McDavid opened the scoring on an early Oilers power play, banging a rebound past Ilya Samsonov.
The Leafs tied it when the Oilers appeared to be expecting the play to be blown dead.
“We thought we heard ‘offside.’ It could’ve been our bench saying it, we’re not sure, but obviously we stopped playing and they didn’t and it hurt us,” McDavid said.
Mitch Marner stole the puck and set up David Kampf for the tying goal. McDavid went to work 22 seconds later, sliding a wrister under Samsonov.
“He’s feeling it,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said.
“He’s coming at teams at a certain level of pace that backs them off, he’s willing to shoot through traffic and he goes to hard areas to score.”
Late in the first, Zach Hyman tallied his 29th to finish off an extended session of forechecking.
Newcomer Mattias Ekholm earned an assist for his first point as an Oiler. McDavid had the other helper to cap off a three-point period.
“I flew out this morning and got in around 1:30 p.m. or so. I went to the hotel and got a meal and a nap in and was ready to go,” Ekholm said of his Oilers debut.
“It’s been a whirlwind of a 24 hours, but I’m super happy and excited to be here.”
“I thought he showed exactly what he’s going to bring to this team tonight,” McDavid said of his new teammate. “He a stable, really solid defender back there.”
“He has a way about him that inspires confidence in the people he’s on the ice with,” Woodcroft said of Ekholm.
“When the ‘batting order’ is set a certain way, everbody looks good, and I thought we got good minutes from everbody that played tonight — on the back end and up front — but it was nice to add someone of Ekholm’s quality to the lineup.
Kailer Yamamoto tipped in Cody Ceci’s point shot partway through the second. Klim Kostin made it 5-1, finishing off a pretty passing play that involved Ryan McLeod and Warren Foegele.
Mitch Marner scored a power play 1:08 into the second. Foegele thought he got it right back when he tapped in a rebound, but the play was blown dead as the referee believed Samsonov had covered the puck.
Justin Holl nailed Yamamoto behind the Leafs net with 8:53 left, prompting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to drop the gloves with Holl. Nugent-Hopkins had the better of the blows in the bout.
“Obviously, we don’t like seeing those types of hits, and I thought Nuge did a great job of stepping up,” McDavid said.
“He’s not usually that type of guy, but I’ve played with him a long time and I’ve seen him fight a few times, and I definitely wouldn’t step up.”
Stuart Skinner made 26 saves for the win in net.
Ekholm played 20:50 in his Oilers debut.
The Oilers, 33-21-8, will host Winnipeg on Friday (The 630 CHED Face-off Show begins at 5:30 p.m., game starts at 7 p.m.)