Connor McDavid was having a quiet game by his standards Wednesday night, but the Edmonton Oilers captain was a factor when it mattered the most.
He scored the overtime winner for the Oilers in a 2-1 pre-season win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks.
Defenceman Evan Bouchard sent the puck up ice to McDavid, who made no mistake on the breakaway with a backhand goal just 55 seconds into overtime.
“I didn’t see a lot of polish offensively, but in the end we found a way to score enough to win the game,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said. ‘There were a lot of hard efforts.”
“I thought we did a lot of really good things defensively. After two periods, we had given up 10 shots. Gave up a little bit more in the third. I didn’t love the fact that we were in the box as much as we were, but the penalty kill dug in.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for Edmonton (1-1-1).
Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner made 21 saves for the win.
“I felt pretty good. It took a while for the game to kind of get going,” Skinner said. “I had three shots in 30 minutes or something like that.
“After they were getting some shots, I started getting a feel for the puck and it got a lot better.”
Quinn Hughes replied for Vancouver (0-1-1).
“I really liked the effort,” Vancouver head coach Rick Tocchet. “Some of the guys who we acquired really played well for us and the young guys played well, the veterans.
“We had two really good practices the last couple of days that kind of helped our game tonight.”
Vancouver goalie Casey DeSmith turned away 27 shots in the loss.
A listless first period produced no goals with Edmonton outshooting Vancouver 10-3.
Hughes scored the game’s first goal during a second-period power play when his long bomb deflected off Bouchard and past Skinner.
Edmonton evened the score with six minutes to play in second period.
Leon Draisaitl, who was serving a slashing penalty when Hughes scored, threaded the puck from behind the goal-line through traffic out to Nugent-Hopkins to score from the slot.
The Canucks boasted the bulk of scoring chances in the third, but Skinner stood his ground to send the contest into extra time.
NOTES: Vancouver lost 10-0 to Calgary to start the pre-season Sunday … The Canucks and Oilers open their regular seasons with a home-and-home against each other. Edmonton is in Vancouver on Oct. 11 followed by an Oct. 14 rematch in Alberta … Free-agent signing Connor Brown played his first game for the Oilers on the top line with his former junior teammate McDavid … The Canucks announced earlier Wednesday that goalie Roberto Luongo will be enshrined on their Ring of Honour on Dec. 14, when they host the Florida Panthers… The Oilers will similarly honour former players Doug Weight and Charlie Huddy when they host the New York Rangers on Oct. 26.
The Canucks play their second road game in as many days on Thursday against the Kraken in Seattle. The Oilers are in Calgary on Friday to face the Flames.