Edmonton Oilers' Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators during first-period NHL action in Edmonton on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Leon Draisaitl’s three-goal, two-assist night powers Oilers to romp over Senators

Leon Draisaitl’s three-goal, two-assist night powers Oilers to romp over Senators

EDMONTON — Leon Draisaitl registered his third-career hat trick as part of five-point night Wednesday in the Edmonton Oilers’ 7-1 dismantling of the Ottawa Senators.

Connor McDavid added a goal and two assists for Edmonton (17-11-0), while Darnell Nurse, with a goal and an assist, Jujhar Khaira and James Neal provided the rest of the offence. Tyson Barrie added three assists as the Oilers won their third straight and improved to 6-0-0 against the Senators in the NHL’s pandemic-shortened season.

Mike Smith stopped 21 shots to improve to 8-2-0 in 2020-21.

Matt Murray, who was left hung out to dry by his teammates early, stopped 29 shots for Ottawa (9-19-1), while Evgenii Dadonov spoiled Smith’s shutout bid midway through the third period. Senators bench boss D.J. Smith had a forgettable milestone evening in his 100th game as an NHL head coach.

The teams play the finale of this three-game series Friday back at Rogers Place.

Edmonton head coach Dave Tippett, who reunited McDavid and Draisaitl on his team’s top line at the start of Monday’s 3-2 victory over Ottawa, was rewarded for sticking with that setup as the league’s No. 1 and 2 scorers combined to bury the visitors early and move within four points of the Toronto Maple Leafs atop the North Division.

The Oilers came at the Senators in waves in a dominant first period with four goals in less than 10 minutes.

Nurse opened the scoring at 3:52 when his point shot tipped off Ottawa winger Austin Watson’s stick past Murray for his seventh of the campaign.

Edmonton, which has responded nicely following three straight home losses to the Leafs by a combined 13-1 scoreline before their current winning streak, made it 2-0 at 5:57 when Senators centre Colin White turned the puck over in the neutral zone. Devin Shore and Khaira raced the other way on a 2-on-0, with the latter tapping home his third.

Then with Watson in the box for goalie interference, Draisaitl blew by Ottawa defenceman Mike Reilly off the rush before depositing his 12th at 12:08.

McDavid continued the onslaught just 1:18 after that when he took a pass from Draisaitl in the slot and was given too much time to unleash a shot that went under Murray’s arm for his 16th and the Oilers’ fourth goal in a 9:34 span.

Edmonton came close to increasing the damage later in the period, but Murray stopped both Shore and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on good chances as the Oilers held a 16-3 advantage on the shot clock.

Murray robbed Draisaitl with the glove on an Edmonton power play early in the second, but the reigning Hart Trophy winner scored his 13th on the Oilers’ third man advantage of the period by burying a slick pass from Nugent-Hopkins at 7:01.

Neal made it 6-0 just 62 seconds later on an effort from well out that fooled Murray under his glove for the winger’s third.

Things when from bad to worse for Ottawa later in the period when White crashed into the boards on his own and wasn’t able to put any weight on his left leg as he was helped to the locker room.

The rebuilding Senators came close to getting on the board when Brady Tkachuk hit the post off the rush. Ottawa then had a couple of opportunities on a power play, but Smith snapped out the glove to deny both Tim Stutzle and Josh Norris.

Draisaitl completed the hat trick — and the fourth five-point game of his career — at 7:35 of the third when McDavid turned on the afterburners before dropping a no-look pass to his linemate to fire through Murray’s five-hole.

The Senators broke Smith’s bid for his 42nd career shutout at 11:11 when Dadonov finished off a nice passing play with his ninth of the season, and 100th of his career.

Notes: McDavid’s 16 goals puts him four back of NHL leader Auston Matthews. … Edmonton centre Kyle Turris remains on the league’s list of players unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols. … Ottawa centre Chris Tierney has now gone 25 games without a goal. … The Oilers and Senators play twice more after Friday, with the final two meetings set for April 7 and 9 in the nation’s capital.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2021.

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