Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen (31) during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, January 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

McDavid scores highlight-reel goal, adds winner in OT as Oilers down Maple Leafs 4-3

EDMONTON — When the NHL announced its pandemic-shortened season would include an all-Canadian division, fans across this hockey-mad country immediately zeroed in on one star-studded matchup.

Edmonton versus Toronto. Connor McDavid against Auston Matthews. Nine meetings spread across 56 games.

After two duds last week and a decent undercard Thursday, the Oilers and Maple Leafs finally provided the expected fireworks worthy of a main event.

And the good news is the teams will suit up against each other at least five more times in 2021.

McDavid scored on a jaw-dropping individual effort in regulation before adding another 42 seconds into overtime Saturday as Edmonton defeated Toronto 4-3.

The winner was important. But the first from the Oilers captain was special.

McDavid collected the puck in Edmonton’s end on a power play with his team up 2-1 in the second period, sliced through the neutral zone and stepped around Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin like he wasn’t even there.

The lightning-quick centre then went from his backhand to his forehand on Andersen in the blink of an eye to bury his sixth of the campaign at 6:13 inside an empty Rogers Place — minus fans due to COVID-19 restrictions — that would have been rocking in the aftermath.

“That’s just what he does,” said Oilers blue-liner Tyson Barrie, who picked up assists on both McDavid goals. “He’s been doing it since he came into the league.

“Just an incredible play from an incredible player.”

The usually-stoic McDavid, who didn’t speak to reporters post-game, cracked a wide smile in celebration of a sequence that harkened back to the goal he scored in Toronto last January when No. 97 stepped past Morgan Rielly.

The superstar from Newmarket, Ont., seems to save his best for the Leafs.

“What impresses you the most about Connor when he does that is the speed he carries the puck,” Edmonton head coach Dave Tippett said. “There’s a lot of fast players, but to do it carrying the puck and having control of the puck, that’s what makes it so dangerous. He’s as fast or faster than anybody in the league.

“I would dare to say he’s the fastest guy by a wide margin carrying the puck. It’s hard to defend.”

And on the winner, McDavid, who also had an assist to tie a franchise record with 17 points through the first 10 games of a season, redirected a Leon Draisaitl pass off the rush as the desperate Oilers halted a two-game slide.

“You’ve got to love the character,” Barrie said. “Hopefully this is the start of something for us.”

Dominik Kahun and Josh Archibald also scored for Edmonton (4-6-0), which will now host the Ottawa Senators for two beginning Sunday. Mikko Koskinen stopped 26 shots, while Draisaitl also had two assists.

Matthews, William Nylander and Zach Hyman replied for Toronto (7-2-1). John Tavares added two assists as the Leafs, who collected seven of a possible eight points on their swing through Alberta, saw a four-game winning streak snapped.

“It was a pretty positive road trip, taking three out of four, playing some good teams,” said Matthews, who scored in his fifth straight game. “When you’re playing the same team back-to-back twice in a row it’s hard to win twice.”

Frederik Andersen, who made 27 saves, dropped to 14-1-2 in his career against the Oilers. Toronto now has three days off before hosting the Vancouver Canucks for a trio of games starting Thursday.

“It’s been a bit of a shotgun start to the season,” Matthews said. “It will be nice to re-energize.”

Tied 3-3 in the third, the Leafs’ second-ranked power play — which knotted the score in the second — went to work when Kailer Yamamoto was whistled for holding, but the Oilers’ penalty kill held firm as Koskinen robbed Mitch Marner with a desperation glove save.

Andersen, who is now 7-0-1 all-time in Edmonton, made his best stop of the night in the dying seconds of regulation when he stretched to stop Archibald on a 2-on-1 rush.

“Every game against Toronto’s been a real competitive game,” Tippett said. “It’s a bounce here or there or a save here or there or capitalizing on a chance here or there.”

After the Oilers went ahead in the second on McDavid’s highlight-reel effort, the Leafs, who took two from the Calgary Flames before Thursday’s 4-3 victory in Edmonton, responded 1:55 later when Matthews scored his sixth from a sharp angle to make it 3-2.

Toronto then tied things just 68 seconds after that on a man advantage when Mikko Lehtonen’s tipped point shot dropped at Hyman’s feet for him to sweep home his second. Lehtonen’s assist was the former KHL star’s first in North America after signing with the Leafs in the off-season.

“I liked the way we responded,” Matthews said of going down 3-1. “We didn’t get discouraged, we didn’t get down.”

McDavid came close to finding the range again later in the period, but his shot hit the post, struck the back of Andersen’s leg and stayed out.

“That was a good hockey game,” Tippett said. “The only thing that hockey game was missing was fans — it would have made it a great game.

“The star players were in full force …both teams competed hard.”

On the heels of Thursday’s encounter that lacked much flow thanks to 11 combined power plays, the teams traded chances early — including Tyler Ennis missing the net on a penalty shot — in a fast-paced opening 20 minutes before Edmonton nudged in front when Kahun scored his first with the Oilers at 11:28.

The German winger took a pass from Draisaitl, his childhood friend, and fanned on his first shot before scooping his second up and over Andersen, who went down on the initial effort.

Toronto got even with 2:14 left in the period when Nylander took advantage of an Edmonton turnover by scoring his fourth, and second in as many games.

But the Oilers retook the lead with 14 seconds left on the clock when McDavid fed a pass against grain from behind Andersen’s net to Archibald for his second.

“It’s a weird season with (the way) everything’s set up and the schedule,” Barrie said of the high-flying North Division. “It can get away from you quick.

“We got a good effort tonight. We’ve got to find ways to string something together.”

Notes: McDavid recorded his fourth straight multi-point game. … Both teams wore their Reverse Retro jerseys for the first time. … Claimed by Edmonton off waivers Jan. 16 from the Los Angeles Kings, Troy Grosenick dressed as Koskinen’s backup after completing a 14-day quarantine.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Central Alberta Freestyle Ski Club is hoping to win $50,000 through the Mackenzie Investments Top Peak contest. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta ski club trying to win $50K in online contest

A central Alberta ski club has entered a contest where it can… Continue reading

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

A passenger places a tag on luggage at the departure terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, May 24, 2019. The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and familial connections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
COVID-19 pandemic prompts recent newcomers to leave Canada for their home countries

OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian oil and gas on trains destined for the United States — a country experts fear is ill-equipped for the potential consequences. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
As debate rages over cross-border pipelines, U.S. analysts brace for more oil by rail

WASHINGTON — The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian… Continue reading

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

VICTORIA — Legal experts and a mother whose ex-partner was convicted of… Continue reading

Radio and television personality Dick Smyth is shown in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Dick Smyth, Canadian maestro of news radio commentary, dies at 86

TORONTO — Radio and television personality Dick Smyth, whose booming commentary filled… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

Most Read