Milan Lucic scored the game-winner 36 seconds into the third period as the Edmonton Oilers downed the St. Louis Blues 3-1 Thursday night at Rogers Place.
Lucic converted a goal mouth pass from Connor McDavid on a two-on-two rush as the Oilers improved to 4-1 on the season. McDavid added an empty net goal with 37.3 seconds left.
The game was scoreless after the first period. Former Oiler Nail Yakupov opened the scoring 3:37 into the second period. Tyler Pitlick replied at 6:22, crashing the net and tipping in an Andrej Sekera shot. The Blues challenged the play for goalie interference, but the goal stood.
Yakupov had a great chance to tie the game with 9:50 left, but his tuck-in chance rang off the post.
Cam Talbot made 34 saves to get the win. Jake Allen made several big saves for the Blues and ended with 20 stops.
Head coach Todd McLellan said it’s been an important first five games for the Oilers.
“The points are in the bank,” McLellan said. “We’ll look at the numbers. We’ll talk to individual players, units and lines and evaluate the group that way. And we’ll close the book and open a new one up in Winnipeg. There’s a lot made about starting well at home. We put some points in the bank, which we needed, but we also now have to learn to deal with the good.”
Lucic said he’s also happy to see some early success, but he’s keeping his eyes on the rest of the season.
“Moving forward it doesn’t get easier,” Lucic said. “Teams are going to be ready to play you. I think that’s a lesson that we’re going to have to learn moving forward. Teams aren’t going to take us lightly, like they have in the past. And we (have to) prepare for every teams best.”
The Oilers will play the Winnipeg Jets in the Heritage Classic on Sunday. (jrw)