“I didn’t think we played our best the first two periods,” Eberle said. “I thought we turned it up a little bit in the third and started to get a cycle going and get chances at the net. At the end of the day, we got the win. We won and got the two points. That’s maybe something that we didn’t do last year. We’ve got to try and keep that even keel though. We’ve got to enjoy this win, see what we did right, see what we did wrong and move forward tomorrow.”
The Carolina Hurricanes, hungry for their first win of the season, put the pedal down in the game’s opening minutes. To start the first period, Carolina was outshooting the Oilers 7-1.
They would outshoot Edmonton 15-10 in the first period, but it was the Oilers who netted the game’s first goal.
At 9:44 of the second period, Eberle picked the puck up at centre ice. He passed it to Taylor Hall and the duo found themselves on a 2-on-1 rush. Hall passed it across to Eberle, who scored his first goal of the season.
“It definitely takes the monkey off your back,” Eberle said. “You feel a lot better and the net looks a little bigger. The biggest thing for goal scoring is you’ve got to be consistent. When it comes to coming in every night and getting shots and chances, that’s the thing you’ve got to do if you want to put up goals and I’m getting the ice time to do it. It’s a good start tonight but tomorrow is a new day.”
Riley Nash tied the game at 15:08 of the second. Justin Faulk shot the puck through traffic and Nash got a stick on it to put it past goaltender Ben Scrivens. Jiri Tlusty recorded the secondary assist.
The Oilers responded quickly. At 16:46, Nikita Nikitin’s shot was dropped by goaltender Anton Khudobin. Jesse Joensuu was there at the top of the crease to put it in the rebound. Boyd Gordon got the second assist.
“I think our whole line had a good night and we just tried to play like we have played,” Joensuu said. “Today we didn’t have those bad mistakes and we were able to score some goals too. It was great.”
Jeff Skinner tied the game at 17:58 of the second with a shot from the slot. Jay Harrison and Andrej Sekera got the assists.
The Oilers reclaimed the lead at 4:26 of the third period, when Eberle scored his second goal of the night. The power play goal gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead.
Harrison scored the equalizer on a shot from the top of the circle at 7:50 of the final frame. He was assisted by Jay McClement.
The Oilers took a 4-3 lead at 12:53 of the third period, courtesy of their rookie centre. Leon Draisaitl, the third-overall pick in the 2014 draft, backhanded in the rebound of his initial shot for his first NHL goal. Perron setup the centre for a great scoring chance but his shot was stopped by Khudobin. The rookie stuck with it and buried his second chance.
“It was an unbelievable play by David,” Draisaitl said. “The two guys I have on my side are the most skilled guys I’ve ever played with and I feel like sometimes they’re maybe a little too skilled for me. It was a great play. On the first (shot) he kind of robbed me and I just kind of stayed with it and batted the rebound in. It wasn’t a pretty one.”
The goal proved to be the game winner, which made the moment that much more memorable.
“It was really exciting,” Draisaitl said. “That’s something that I think every hockey player as a kid dreams of. To make this happen tonight, with this team, is even more special for sure.”
The Oilers increased their lead to 5-3 when Justin Schultz fired a shot from the point. It rebounded in close with traffic at the top of the crease. Eberle touched it and earned an assist, but it was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who put it away. That score was Nugent-Hopkins’ third-straight game with a goal.
Matt Hendricks fired the puck into the empty net with 1:27 left in the game to put the icing on the Oilers third-straight win.