Connor McDavid scored a hat trick to lift the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-0 win against the Calgary Flames in the season opener at Rogers Place on Wednesday. McDavid, who has scored 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in his past 15 regular-season games said: “It’s a good way to start, I guess. It feels good tonight but we have a long way to go here. We were able to create some chances. Everybody was making a big deal about Calgary’s defense, but it was our defense that was great tonight. They were moving pucks up to the forwards so we could do what we get paid to do.” After winning the NHL scoring title in 2016-17 (100 points), McDavid scored in the first period and had two goals in the third for his second NHL hat trick and the first by an Oilers player in a season opener.
The reigning Hart Trophy winner as League MVP had seven shots on goal in the game. Goaltender Cam Talbot said of McDavid: “You can’t say enough good things about No. 97. We played a complete game tonight as a team. We didn’t give them many chances”. The Oilers have won five consecutive games against the Flames. Edmonton swept the season series last year, winning all four games. Edmonton outshot Calgary 16-5 in the third period.
Patrick Marleau scored two goals in his debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 7-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets in the season opener at Bell MTS Place on Wednesday. Marleau, who spent the past 19 seasons with the San Jose Sharks before signing with the Maple Leafs on July 2, scored his 509th and 510th NHL goals. Marleau said of his first goal: “Great play by [Auston Matthews] getting it over to me and then kind of kicked it up to my skate and was able to deke around [Jets goalie Steve Mason]”. Nazem Kadri, William Nylander and Mitch Marner also scored, and Matthews and James van Riemsdykeach had one goal and two assists for Toronto. Frederik Andersen made 35 saves, 17 in the first period. Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault scored for the Jets. Mason allowed five goals on 20 shots and was pulled for Connor Hellebuyck 36 seconds into the third period. Hellebuyck made nine saves. Toronto killed all eight of Winnipeg’s power plays. The Jets scored 13 of their 17 preseason goals with the man-advantage. Matthews said: “Our penalty kill came up huge for us and we scored when it counted. They’ve obviously got some shooters, some guys that can put the puck in the net, and we definitely limited some of their chances. Obviously, Freddie came up just huge sometimes. That’s what you need, especially in a game like this. We know they’re calling it tight so we’ve got to be better in that area.” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock added: “We took so many penalties. The goalie had to be so good early. You know how hockey is, if they score on one of those early, and they get confidence, who knows, the game could be different, especially in their building. We were able to make a few adjustments on our penalty kill and we scored timely goals. You don’t have to worry about scoring goals when you score right away”.
The Pittsburgh Penguins raised another Stanley Cup banner Wednesday, and then raised the curtain on a new season with a 5-4 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues. To the Penguins, the moment that 2017 banner reached the rafters in PPG Paints Arena, joining those from 1991, 1992, 2009 and 2016, their celebration of winning back-to-back championships was over and the journey toward trying to win three in a row began. In their opener, the Penguins showed they have some work to do. They were sloppy with the puck at times and in their defensive reads against the rush. But they battled back from down 4-2 in the third period to tie it on goals from Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary before Alex Pietrangelo won it for the Blues 1:15 into overtime.