ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)Klim Kostin scored two goals, and Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist apiece in the Edmonton Oilers’ 6-2 victory over the last-place Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
Leon Draisaitl also scored and Jack Campbell made 21 saves for the Oilers, who snapped a two-game skid on the second stop of a four-game West Coast road trip. Edmonton recorded 53 shots on goal while scoring at least six goals for the fifth time over the past five weeks and avenging a 4-3 loss to the lowly Ducks last month.
Dylan Holloway got the opening goal just 3:24 into Edmonton’s four-goal first period, which was highlighted by McDavid’s exceptional backhand goal after a turnover by Cam Fowler to make it 3-1.
”It’s important to have a good start, especially against a young group,” McDavid said. ”To get on top of them early is important, and make sure that they know it’s going to be a hard night.”
McDavid has 79 points in 43 games this season after his 22nd multi-point game, boosting his lead over Draisaitl to 16 points in the race for his fifth NHL scoring title.
Kostin had his third career two-goal game and his second in the past two weeks, scoring late in the first period off a turnover by Dmitry Kulikov and getting another in the second period.
”I feel a little more confidence since the start of the year,” Kostin said. ”It’s easy to play with those (linemates), Nuge and Janny (Mattias Janmark). We understand each other. … I didn’t deserve a hat trick yet, though. I need to work a little harder.”
Sam Carrick and Simon Benoit scored and John Gibson stopped 31 shots while giving up six goals in the first two periods for the Ducks, who dropped to 3-5-1 on their franchise-record 10-game homestand. Anaheim already was the NHL’s worst defensive team before yielding 17 goals in its past three games.
”Our best guys were clearly not our best guys,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. ”It shouldn’t take a big meeting between periods to get you going in this league. Working hard is not enough. You have to compete. You have to be a self-starter. You have to do what’s required.”
When Kostin’s second goal hit the net, Anaheim had given up eight goals in its last 42 minutes of play dating to Boston’s three-goal third period in the Bruins’ 7-1 win on Sunday.
Draisaitl’s power-play goal to make it 6-1 in the second period was another thing of beauty: The German superstar redirected the puck with his stick between his own legs, beating Gibson with style.
Vincent Desharnais made his NHL debut for Edmonton. The 26-year-old defenseman was a seventh-round pick by the Oilers in 2016.
”I thought he was fantastic,” McDavid said. ”I thought he looked really good back there. … I know he was really happy to have his family here. Just really cool to see someone live out their dream.”
Derek Ryan missed his first game since Oct. 18 with Edmonton electing to dress seven defensemen for Desharnais’ debut.
Calvin Pickard backed up Campbell while rookie goalie Stuart Skinner was away from the team to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.
Max Jones returned to Anaheim’s lineup for the first time since Dec. 12, missing 12 games with an upper-body injury.
Ducks forward Justin Kirkland missed his second straight game after getting into a car accident on the way to the rink last Sunday and spending a night in the hospital. Kirkland is expected to make a full recovery.
Oilers: At San Jose on Friday.
Ducks: Host New Jersey on Friday.
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