OTTAWA — Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers were able to overcome a slow start in Ottawa.
McDavid scored a slick goal to boost his team as the Oilers defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-2 on Thursday.
Sam Gagner, Colby Cave and Zack Kassian also scored for the Oilers (27-30-7), who won their first in three games. Mikko Koskinen made 35 saves.
The Oilers were coming off a disappointing 6-2 loss to Toronto the night before and due to travel issues didn’t get to their Ottawa hotel until 3:30 a.m. ET., making things a little rough at times.
“We had no energy at the start,” said Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock. “Connor gave us a big boost by his play. That helped a lot and then Cave’s line really got wheeling and that was a good sign. We started to get juice in the second period, but we were running on fumes at the start.”
Chris Tierney and Mark Borowiecki scored for the Senators as Craig Anderson stopped 22 shots in his ninth straight defeat. The loss was the Senators’ (22-37-5) sixth straight.
The Senators believed they deserved a better fate on this night.
After losing 7-2 to the Capitals Tuesday night the Senators came out with a solid effort, but still fell short.
“We know we can have that effort every night and if we bring that day in, day out for the rest of the season we’ll be just fine,” said Colin White. “Sometimes it’s tough, but to come back and work even harder after that kind of game shows a lot about us.”
Trailing 3-2 in the third White believed he had scored the equalizer, but the goal was called off due to a high stick. White knocked the puck down and then scored, but there was no arguing the call.
“(Officials) said it was a judgement call,” said Ottawa coach Guy Boucher. “If you call it a goal then the league can check, but if you don’t call it a goal then you can’t and it stays a judgement call.”
The night marked the first home game since Mark Stone was traded, but thanks to McDavid the Senators had one of their biggest crowds of the season.
“It was fun, there was good energy,” said Borowiecki. “A lot of blue and orange in warm-ups, but that’s the Connor McDavid Canada tour so it’s going to happen. It was nice to get some support and we appreciate fans coming out and sticking behind us in this tough situation. I know it’s not easy for the city.”
Both teams made mistakes, but offered plenty of entertainment for the 18,358 on hand at Canadian Tire Centre.
Edmonton was up two goals after two periods and took a 3-1 lead 1:46 into the third when Cave took advantage of a Christian Jaros giveaway for his second of the season.
Ottawa made it a one-goal game when Borowiecki scored his first of the season at the seven-minute mark, but Kassian iced it for the Oilers with an empty-net goal.
Borowiecki’s teammates were happy to see him get finally his first of the season.
“He’s definitely a guy who’s passionate about scoring, especially in practice, so it’s good to see him get out there and get one,” said Anderson.
“It’s good to see him show his enthusiasm for the game. That’s what we need, we need to show our enthusiasm for the game because it is a game and we love it and need to continue with our passion to be good pros.”
Trailing 1-0 the Oilers quickly tied the game in the second when McDavid scored his 33rd of the season. McDavid dug the puck out of Oscar Lindberg’s skates and then beat Anderson high from in close with a deke to the forehand.
“The game was kind of flat-lining at that point,” said McDavid. “They came out with a lot of jump and scored one and then in the second they didn’t give up much. Sometimes it just takes a little break and the offence starts coming.”
Edmonton took a 2-1 lead late in the period as Thomas Chabot left Gagner all alone. Gagner took a great pass from Ty Rattie for his fourth of the season.
Anderson was busy right from the start making a couple big saves on McDavid early on, but it was the Senators who scored first.
Tierney scored his first in 19 games as he came from behind the net, grabbed a loose puck in front and beat Koskinen through the legs.
Notes: Rudolfs Balcers missed the game due to illness, while Christian Wolanin was a healthy scratch for the Senators. Edmonton scratched Kevin Gravel, Alexander Petrovic and Kyle Brodziak.