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Sunday, September 27, 2015

OILERS 3 WILD 0 IN SASKATOON

SASKATOON - He only had one assist, but Connor McDavid gave a glimpse of his potential to be an NHL star for the long haul.

The 18-year-old centre, from Newmarket, Ont., appeared in his second exhibition game of the 2015 NHL pre-season on Saturday at the SaskTel Centre and collected his third point as his Edmonton Oilers down the Minnesota Wild 3-0.

The first overall selection in June's NHL Entry Draft picked up a secondary assist on the Oilers' first goal before 7,541 spectators. He had two helpers in his pre-season debut on Monday in Edmonton, when the Oilers dumped the Calgary Flames 4-2.

On Saturday, McDavid made a number of impressive passing plays for scoring chances, and he created two breakaway opportunities, with one coming in the contest's second period and the other in the third.

"I think I felt better today,'' said McDavid, who had 44 goals and 76 assists in 47 regular season games with the Ontario Hockey League's Erie Otters last season. "I was a little bit nervous in the first game. I didn't quite have it.

"I felt better today. I was able to generate some good stuff.''

McDavid showed off his playmaking ability in the opening 20 minutes. First, while working in tight on the Wild goal, he slipped a nice drop pass to linemate Anton Slepyshev, who stalled for a second before getting a shot on goal.

The pair had a two-on-one a few minutes later, but Slepyshev fanned on a perfectly placed set-up from McDavid.

The Oilers broke through on the scoreboard late in the first thanks to the line of McDavid, Slepyshev and Leon Draisaitl. Holding the puck in the left corner of the Wild zone, Draisaitl, after getting the puck from McDavid, centred a pass to Slepyshev, who put a shot past Wild netminder Darcy Kuemper.

"He (McDavid) looked very dangerous,'' said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. "We rolled four lines for the most of the night. When we did go to three, I thought he got better ... You can tell that he is that type of player. He has been used a lot. He probably plays better, when he is used more.

"Their line in my opinion was our best line. They were the most dangerous line in the rink. He is a pretty exciting player, when he gets the puck.''

Early in the second, McDavid had his first breakaway, but he was turned away by Kuemper, who was playing in front of a large number of hometown family and friends. In the third, McDavid stole the puck from a Wild defender at the Minnesota blue line to create his second breakaway, but he fired a shot just wide of the goal.

"I had a couple of different chances,'' said McDavid. "One has to hit the net. The other one I just have to bear down on it. It is my bad.''

The Oilers went up 2-0 shortly before the midway point of the third, when defenceman Oscar Klefbom floated an off-speed shot from the point to the top left corner of the Minnesota goal. Rob Klinkhammer rounded out the game's scoring with an empty-net goal with 2:16 to play in the third.

Wild centre Erik Haula scored in a practice three-on-three overtime session that followed the contest.

Kuemper stopped 27 of 29 shots in goal for the Wild. Anders Nilsson made 25 stops in the Oilers net. Nilsson was pleased to get the shutout.

"It is always good for confidence to do that,'' said Nilsson. "Today, I felt pretty good. I felt calm.

"I felt that I saw the puck pretty well. I must say the guys in front of me played a great game. They didn't give them a lot of chances.''

The Wild return to action on Sunday, when they host the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers are off until Tuesday, when they host the Arizona Coyotes.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Huh...the rink half full for one of the most exciting lineups ever in that city? Wow Saskatoon. ...wannabes again!! You'll forever be thought of as wannabes! !!!

Anonymous said...

The Regina complainers are out again. Notice Regina doesnt even get a pre season game anymore? There is a reason for that - crappy attendance at past games! Those who live in glass houses...

Anonymous said...

I'm from Regina and I'm glad Saskatoon smartened up and quit going to these disgusting preseason games. The Wild left nearly ALL their stars in Minneapolis for this game.