Oilers open new home with win over Flames
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[October 13, 2016]
EDMONTON, Alberta -- The
Edmonton Oilers opened the brand-new Rogers Place with a lot of
Connor McDavid scored twice and added an assist as Edmonton beat the
Calgary Flames 7-4 in the first regular-season game played at the
new, 18,500-seat home of the Oilers.
It only took 1:10 for the Oilers to open the scoring. Patrick Maroon
got the first regular-season goal at Rogers Place, tipping home a
point shot from Leon Draisaitl past goalie Brian Elliott.
"I'm just lucky that it actually hit me," said Maroon. "I was just
going to the front of the net. I think it hit off my shin-pad or my
pants, but I was just trying to get to the dirty areas. But it's the
first goal in Rogers Place history, so it's special."
But, just 36 seconds after Maroon's historic opener, Alex Chiasson
tied the game. The right winger came out from behind the Oilers'
net, took one whack at the puck, got another chance and beat goalie
The goals kept coming. Tyler Pitlick and Zack Kassian ensured the
Oilers went into the intermission with a 3-1 lead. Pitlick scored at
5:34, a wrist shot in the top corner. Kassian scored on a breakaway
at 15:12. At that point, the Oilers had beaten Elliott three times
on just five shots.
The Flames outshot the Oilers 40-27.
"It was kind of one of those nights where everything that could go
wrong, did go wrong," said Elliott of his performance. "That's not
the way you want to start the season. The good thing is we have
these guys back at home (Friday) and we'll get back to the drawing
In the second, Calgary capitalized on an Oilers mistake to make it
3-2 at 8:26. Draisaitl made an ill-advised pass to the center of the
ice, which was intercepted by Troy Brouwer. The Flames' right winger
converted the shorthanded breakaway.
At 11:51, Michael Frolik banged home a rebound to tie the game --
the Flames' second shorthanded goal of the period.
But, then it was time for the McDavid show. At 12:17, 2015's No. 1
draft pick scored his first of the season, with a shot that went
right through Elliott and crept across the goal line.
Just over two minutes later, McDavid got a breakaway chance off a
giveaway from Johnny Gaudreau, was hooked by Calgary defenseman
Dennis Wideman, and was awarded a penalty shot. He came in on
Elliott oh so slowly, picked his spot and scored.
"I was kind of reacting to what Elliott was doing," said McDavid.
"You come with a lot of speed, you stop and you back him up. The
goalie's kind of at your mercy, he has to make the first move. You
wait for him to do that, and you try to do the opposite."
NHL all-time leading scorer Wayne Gretzky, who won four Cups with
the team and was announced as partner and vice chairman of the
Oilers Entertainment Group earlier in the day, marveled at McDavid's
"It's real credit to his family, and to the Oilers, and he's going
to be a really great player for years to come," said Gretzky.
Gretzky was in the Oilers dressing room after the game, but the
announcement that he was an Oiler again came as the refurbished
statue in his honor was unveiled in front of the new arena. The
Great One also joined fellow Hall of Famer Mark Messier in the
on-ice opening ceremony.
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Oilers forward Milan Lucic (27) looks for a rebound in front of
Calgary Flames goaltender Brian Elliott (1) during the second period
at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
In the third, Oilers rookie Jesse Puljujarvi scored a power-play
goal at 9:00, with a shot that went through the goalie.
Wideman scored a power-play marker at 11:29 to make the score
Jordan Eberle scored an empty netter with 1:22 left to make it 7-4.
"We had too many turnovers," said Brouwer. "We were careless with
the puck. Especially against a team like Edmonton, they are going to
make you pay. We just fed their turnover game all night long.
Gretzky noted that McDavid's big night came just hours after Toronto
Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews scored four times in a loss to
the Ottawa Senators.
"We always sort of go through these things, when Mario (Lemieux)
retired and Mess retired, people say who's going to take over? And
along came (Sidney) Crosby and (Alex) Ovechkin. And then they were
like well, OK, how old are they getting? Who's going to come along?
Guys like Matthews and, obviously, Connor. The game's always been in
good shape. We're finding not only really good hockey players but
really good people that come along."
Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson left the game after a
second-period collision with Calgary's Matthew Tkachuk.
NOTES: How hot were tickets for opening night at Rogers Place? As of
Wednesday afternoon, the cheapest price you could find for tickets
on StubHub were at $157 (U.S.) each; tickets in the club section
were going for $800 (U.S.) each. ... As a member of the St. Louis
Blues last year, Flames G Brian Elliott posted a league-best .930
save percentage. ... C Anton Lander, who scored just once in 61
games for the Oilers last season, survived the waiver process and
was on the team's opening-night roster. He was a healthy scratch.
... The Oilers also scratched D Mark Fayne and D Matthew Benning. LW
Matt Hendricks (lower body) and RW Iiro Pakarinen (lower body) are
on injured reserve. ... The Flames scratched D Jyrki Jokipakka, C
Freddie Hamilton and D Brett Kulak.
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