Skip to content

Connor McDavid scores twice, Edmonton Oilers outmuscle defending Stanley Cup champs

Tampa Bay Lighting goalie Brian Elliott (1) makes the save on Edmonton Oilers' Kailer Yamamoto (56) as Ryan McDonagh (27) defends during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, March 12, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON — It was the kind of confidence boost the Edmonton Oilers desperately needed.

Connor McDavid had a pair of goals and Mikko Koskinen made 31 saves to improve to 8-1-2 in his last 11 starts as the Oilers moved back into a playoff position with a 4-1 victory over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

“Tonight was a total team win, contributions up and down the lineup,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft. “In the two games as a whole against Tampa we gave up 55 shots against the Stanley Cup champions. We did a good job defensively in both games."

Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto also scored and added an assist apiece for the Oilers (32-23-4), who have won two in a row and moved into third place in the Pacific Division. Tyson Barrie chipped in with two helpers.

“I think we had an all-around effort,” Draisaitl said. “The PK was really good. I think our power play could have been sharper, but we did score a big goal to make it 2-0 at the end of the second there. You have to find the right time to score sometimes too. We did that and, five-on-five, I thought we were really solid.

“I think we are finding our gear here a little bit and taking steps in the right direction.”

The Oilers improved to 18-0 when scoring first this season.

“I’m not sure what it is. I think we just find a comfort level in our game,” McDavid said. “Obviously the start is important. We haven’t found a way to get the first goal too many times, so when we do we have to bear down and find a way to get a win.”

Zach Bogosian responded for the Lightning (37-15-6) who have lost three in a row for the first time this season. Brian Elliott stopped 45-of-48 shots.

“When things aren’t going well for you, you invent ways to shoot yourself in the foot,” said Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper. “Whether it’s turnovers, taking too many penalties, we’re finding ways on this road trip to make it hard on ourselves. If you’re going to take that many penalties and you’re going to put some of the best players in the world on the ice all night, it’s going to be tough for you.”

Edmonton managed to get a rare first goal of the game midway through the first period when McDavid stripped a puck and danced around Victor Hedman at full speed before tucking it past Elliott.

The home side made it 2-0 with 44 seconds left in the middle frame as McDavid picked the top corner for his 32nd of the season, also taking the league lead for points with 83.

The Lightning finally got on the board midway through the third as Bogosian was left alone in the slot and sent his third of the season over Koskinen’s shoulder.

After killing off a lengthy five-on-three Tampa power play, the Oilers regained their two-goal cushion three minutes later as Draisaitl had a long breakaway before depositing his 39th of the campaign through Elliott’s legs.

Yamamoto added an empty netter to put the game away for Edmonton.

The Oilers outshot the Lightning 49-32.

The Lightning are right back at it on Sunday night in Vancouver against the Canucks. The Oilers play the third game of a five-game homestand on Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings.

NOTES: It was the first time the Lightning have played at Rogers Place in Edmonton since they won the Stanley Cup in the “bubble” in 2020… Oilers forward Josh Archibald made his season debut after he was diagnosed with myocarditis at training camp following a bout with COVID-19. Archibald remains unvaccinated, meaning he cannot currently travel with the team… Still out with injuries for Edmonton were Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (upper body), Kris Russell (undisclosed), Jesse Puljujarvi (lower body) and Kyle Turris (upper body). The Lightning were healthy.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 12, 2022.

Shane Jones, The Canadian Press

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks