Connor McDavid’s first multipoint performance lifted the Edmonton Oilers to their first win of the season and ended a lengthy skid to a rival.
The rookie looks to follow up his most productive game by helping the Oilers snap another skid to a Western Canadian foe, the Vancouver Canucks, on Sunday night.
McDavid scored one goal in Edmonton’s 0-4-0 start but broke out with two goals and an assist in a 5-2 win at Calgary on Saturday.
"I’m just getting more and more comfortable," McDavid said. "It’s only been five games in and I’m starting to feel better."
Taylor Hall also provided a goal and two assists as the Oilers (1-4-0) got a combined nine points from their four No. 1 overall draft picks, including all five goals, while snapping a seven-game skid to the Flames.
McDavid became the latest of those top selections after Edmonton bypassed Buffalo and Arizona in winning the draft lottery following last season.
"There’s a ton of pressure on him. It’s tough as an 18 year old. You don’t quite have the ability to let that stuff drop. We’re doing the best we can to surround him with good people," Hall said. "At the end of the day, it’s about hockey. It was a great game for him, and we needed him."
An 0-3-2 record against Vancouver last season played a small part in the Oilers getting McDavid, and the Canucks enter this season’s first matchup eager to bounce back from their first regulation loss in 2015-16, a 4-3 defeat to St. Louis on Friday.
They attempted a late rally after falling behind by three goals with 3:46 left, and Vancouver (3-1-1) also trailed 3-0 in the first 30:01.
"They kind of did what they needed to do early and then we got better," goaltender Ryan Miller said. "A little too late, but a good push by our guys. We probably need to be better early, all of us."
The Canucks’ power play went 0 for 5, putting them 1 for 18 with a man advantage so far. Vancouver has compensated by killing off 12 of 13 penalties.
"We have a lot of pucks on our sticks. We’re not making the plays that we know we can," captain Henrik Sedin said.
Vancouver went 4 for 21 on the power play last season against Edmonton and 14 for 16 on the penalty kill. Radim Vrbata scored three of those man-advantage goals while finishing with four goals and four assists in the series.
Vrbata, who doesn’t have a point so far this season, will try to snap that slump by adding to his six goals and nine assists in his past 10 meetings.
Daniel Sedin had a team-best 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in last season’s five matchups while Henrik Sedin provided one goal and seven assists.
Miller is 12-0-0 with a 2.23 goals-against average lifetime versus the Oilers, winning all five games between the teams last season.
With Cam Talbot in net on Friday, Edmonton could give Anders Nilsson his second start this season and first against Vancouver. Talbot is 1-0-1 with a 2.88 GAA in two lifetime matchups.