EDMONTON — Connor McDavid scored two goals Tuesday to pace the Oilers to a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames in the official debut of Edmonton’s NHL post-season hub-bubble.
Kailer Yamamoto and Patrick Russell also scored for Edmonton while Elias Lindholm replied for Calgary.
It was the lone exhibition game for the two teams prior to the weekend start of the NHL’s play-in round.
It was played before thousands of empty seats at Rogers Place, which has been locked down to prevent any spread of COVID-19 as Edmonton hosts the Western Conference play-in/play-off series to finish the 2019-20 season.
The game was only a minute old when Oiler centre Leon Draisaitl chased down a dump-in to Calgary’s end to spark an attack that ended with Yamamoto firing a rebound over goalie Cam Talbot’s glove to make it 1-0.
The Oilers’ power play, the league’s best at 29.5 per cent in the regular season, made it 2-0 at the 7:44 mark. Draisaitl threaded a cross-ice pass through heavy traffic in the slot to McDavid on the doorstep who then flicked the puck over a sprawling Talbot.
Calgary battled back in the second period, taking the game to Edmonton on the forecheck and outshooting them 16-7. Lindholm, on the power play, jumped on a loose puck at the crease and scored high on Oiler goalie Mike Smith to cut the lead to 2-1 with less than four seconds to play in the period.
The Oilers put the game away late in the third, with Russell and McDavid scoring 33 seconds apart.
Edmonton is hosting the 12 Western Conference teams as one of two NHL hub cities. Toronto is hosting the Eastern side.
The COVID clampdown made for a surreal atmosphere inside Rogers Place.
The downtown arena was closed to fans. The lower bowl stands were tarped over. Massive …read more