Winnipeg — Maybe Connor McDavid will get a point on every Edmonton Oilers goal this season.OK, that’s not going to happen because his housemate Darnell Nurse scored the 5-4 OT winner with McDavid cheering from the bench Tuesday but the Oilers captain shattered Adam Oates’s NHL record by figuring in the first nine goals for his team.He brought the Oilers back from a 4-1 40-minute hole, rolling past Oates’ points in the first seven Detroit Red Wings’ goals from 20 years ago. He had his third and fourth goals in the team’s fourth game and assisted on Ty Rattie’s first of the year and Jesse Puljujarvi’s tying marker in the third.“What do you want me to say? He’s the best player on earth,” said Oilers’ coach Todd McLellan, after his club levelled their road start at 2-2 with the next four at Rogers Place.Adam Lowry had two goals on his first four shifts in the opening frame with defensive D-man Ben Chiarot and Mark Scheifele getting the others on Cam Talbot, who should have been sued for non-support payments in the first 20.Here’s some observations
Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Strome, left, and Darnell Nurse celebrate after Nurse scored the game winning goal in overtime against the Winnipeg Jets during NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018.
Trevor Hagan /
THE CANADIAN PRESS
The wheel usually turns. Nurse was -3 in the opener in Sweden against New Jersey, and wasn’t the least bit happy about it, but he got his second OT winner (the first was last January in Vegas on Marc-Andre Fleury before their team break). He looked like Erik Karlsson going coast-to-coast, with a nice toe-drag around a diving Nik Ehlers, who might have been better standing his ground.“Darnell said Trent Yawney’s been showing him that (bursting up ice) after practice. I dunno about that. I’ve known Trent for 40 years and that’s not in his game. He was lying,” kidded McLellan. “What was going through my mind was ‘have confidence to make a play here,’ ” said Nurse. “This one feels better than the one in Vegas, more meaningful the way we came back.” Imagine going home even against Boston, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Washington — no Little Sisters of the Poor there — feels a whole lot better than being 1-3. As rallies go, this was all-world, especially, with the heat turned up very high to get off to a good first month. “We talked about stuff being magnified early in the season … records, power play, penalty-kill numbers because there’s nothing else to go on,” said McLellan. “There’s lots of teams that will go 1-3 later in the next 6 1/2 months but at the beginning of the year it becomes a talking point. You guys (media) don’t have anything else to talk about.” Talbot didn’t have a prayer on the four Jets goals and wasn’t as busy after the first (14 shots) with only 19 the last 43 minutes, but he saved his best late in the third on Brandon Tanev’s breakaway. “We didn’t help him out at all but the one in the third (backhand) was big and also the late penalty-kill (Milan Lucic bogus penalty),” said McLellan. Sorry, but Lucic was penalized by veteran ref Steve Kozari, who should know better, for being too nasty midway through the third with a clean shoulder to shoulder smack down of Chiarot who had the puck on the end boards. It is the NHL (No Hitting League), mind you. The Jets didn’t score to break the 4-4 tie, but they would have been in Kozari’s face if they had. Puljujarvi, rapped for not getting involved enough offensively, had his best game of the season, turning it up in the third to score from the blue-paint and set up Leon Draisaitl in alone. He looked like a stallion freed from the barn.“Jesse played well most of the night and did the same the game before in New York,” said McLellan. “We did some line-shuffling with him (moving him off the third-line). He looks like he’s starting to regain his (pre-season) confidence. He was a force.” Hardly an auspicious start for the third defence pairing of Jason Garrison and Matt Benning as Dave Lowry victimized them twice in the first 7 1/2 minutes. On the first, Benning went into the corner to check Tanev and Lowry skated uncontested to stuff one home as Garrison decided to move toward Kailer Yamamoto 10 feet in front of the net. Then on the second, Lowry almost got three-for-a-quarter midway chances on Talbot when all alone, popping his second shot home.Benning, who had an ice-bag on his left foot after the game, and Garrison were broken up as a pair by Yawney with Garrison playing less than nine minutes and Benning, who just can’t seem to gain any traction, getting just 11 1/2. Benning, especially, is much better than this, but the coach can’t play four guys the entire 60 minutes, can he?“We got beat up with the pair but we were also hesitant as a team. The first three or four shifts they got to every loose puck in our zone and they had us running around,” said McLellan. ‘We weren’t prepared to defend but we weren’t prepared to go and get loose pucks either to go the other way.” The Oilers shortened their bench as the game wore on with Kyle Brodziak and Jujhar Khaira hardly playing, just 7:14 for Brodiak and 9:39 for Khaira. “We cut to three lines and that gave some of our star players more (ice). They would get off and rest but didn’t have that one more pause. Unfortunate for some players in the third, but we got the job done,” said McLellan. OK, how many people had Lowry with more goals (3) than Patrik Laine (2) in the first six Jets games? We spend the pre-game build-up talking about Jets’ No. 1 centre Mark Scheifele, who did score and Lowry pops the first two on Cam Talbot, who got absolutely no help on either one. Dave Lowry’s boy was a fourth-round draft pick. You’re entitled to ask how this big, strong kid lasted that long. Fantastic first goal by McDavid, roaring around defenceman Jacob Trouba and roofing a backhand home before you could spell H-E-L-L-E-B-U-Y-C-K. “You’re giving ice to a player you can’t give ice to and then he doesn’t need any room,” said Jets coach Paul Maurice. That gave McDavid a point in the first six Oiler goals this season for McDavid, tying the six by Habs’ Aurel Joliat (29-30), Boston’s Bill Cowley (38-39) and Vancouver’s Andre Boudrias (73-74). The Oilers got caught with an extra skater on the ice in the last minute of the first — looked like Puljujarvi and Rattie messed up the on-off and Scheifele had Laine’s 100 mile-an-hour ripper land on a tee for his put-back power play goal early in the second. Again not a prayer for Talbot. The way the Oilers were playing right then they probably felt like the only way they could compete was to have one more skater than the Jets the whole game. Hellebuyck didn’t have much to do for 40 minutes but after two goals early in the third, he robbed Draisaitl and Yamamoto, looking for his first NHL goal in his 13th game, in alone. Very good play by Puljujarvi on the Draisaitl chance to one hand one to Draisaitl. Yeah, I know, all these observations seem to be about McDavid. But he’s a lot stronger than people give him credit for. He’s throwing his arm out to hold off checkers as he goes around them now, as he did to Wheeler late in the opening period. McDavid did the same in Boston and New York last week too in games. One other part of his arsenal firstname.lastname@example.org@NHLbyMatty