Preview: Kings at Oilers
Connor McDavid helped make Dave Tippett's debut as coach of the Edmonton Oilers a successful one. The 22-year-old captain attempts to guide the Oilers to another victory when they host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
McDavid, who scored a career-high nine game-winning goals last season, got off to an early start in the category in 2019-20 as he tallied with 5:23 remaining in the third period Wednesday to snap a tie and give Edmonton a 3-2 victory over Vancouver. The three-time All-Star and former Hart Trophy winner has eclipsed the 100-point plateau in each of the last three campaigns and fell 12 points shy of capturing his third consecutive Art Ross Trophy last season. Los Angeles will be looking to erase the memories of a disappointing 2018-19 as it plays its season opener. The Kings finished last in the Western Conference and 30th in the league with 71 points, missing the playoffs for the third time in five campaigns after winning the Stanley Cup twice in the previous three years.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS West (Los Angeles), Sportsnet West, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, CITY (Edmonton)
ABOUT THE KINGS (2018-19: 31-42-9, EIGHTH IN PACIFIC): Captain Anze Kopitar recorded a team-leading 60 points last season, marking the 11th time in 13 campaigns he reached the mark. The 32-year-old Slovenian, who also shared the team lead in goals with 22, is 12 points away from 900 for his career and 12 power-play tallies shy of 100. Former captain Dustin Brown hopes to continue his resurgence in 2019-20 as he has recorded at least 22 goals in each of the last two seasons after failing to notch 20 in the previous five campaigns, and is 18 away from 300 in the NHL.
ABOUT THE OILERS (1-0-0): Tippett, a former Jack Adams Award winner who last coached in the NHL in April 2017 with Arizona, was not the only one making his debut with Edmonton on Wednesday. Mike Smith made 31 saves en route to victory while James Neal registered two shots in 14 minutes, 11 seconds of ice time. Leon Draisaitl, who set career highs in goals (50), assists (55) and points last season, scored to extend his goal-scoring streak to three games and set up two others in the victory over the Canucks.
1. Oilers D Adam Larsson was placed on long-term injured reserve after suffering a fractured right fibula when hit by a shot in the season opener and will miss 6-to-8 weeks.
2. Brown needs five power-play goals to hit 100 for his career.
3. Edmonton recalled Evan Bouchard from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League and assigned fellow D Ethan Bear to the Condors.
PREDICTION: Oilers 4, Kings 2