Advertisement

Turris wins it in the shootout for the Edmonton Oilers home-opener

Nobody wanted to score more than Kyle Turris either, beating Thatcher Demko through his pads

Article content

At the final buzzer, Joey Moss’s “La Bamba” was blaring through Rogers Place.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

“It’s a song close to our hearts. No one liked a win more than Joey Moss so it is a nice tribute to him, said Connor McDavid, after the Edmonton Oilers beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 Wednesday in their first shootout since the 2019-2020 season, with none last year in the 56 games.

Nobody wanted to score more than Kyle Turris either, beating Thatcher Demko through his pads.

“I’m the first to admit I had a bad year last season and I wanted to prove myself…and to get a shift in overtime, then in the shootout, that was great for my confidence,” said Turris, who was the fifth shooter after Leon Draisaitl, McDavid, Tyson Barrie and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Turris has been a shootout guy in Arizona, Ottawa and Nashville with close to 80 in his career, so it wasn’t foreign territory, and the fourth-line winger made it look ho-hum to end it on the Oilers 42nd home-opener, and first game since March 2020 with fans at Rogers Place. Only 16,034, well short of their 18,347 capacity, but they were loud and proud—just like the late Moss with his singing lungs.

“I’ve always found the shoot-out a fun part of the game. I take it very seriously, I’m pretty skilled and I’ve practised it over the course of my career,” said Turris, who was on the bench while the first four Oilers tried their moves on Demko, getting a book on the Canucks’ goalie, who allowed one to Nugent-Hopkins but that was it before Turris came through.

“You definitely pay attention to what the other guys are doing. You get a bit of a pre-scout,” said Turris, who has a 37 percent success rate in his career, very high.

“Yeah, we only had a list made up of five. Five, we only had five,” said Oiler coach Dave Tippett, who might have tapped Zach Hyman on the shoulder if it got to No. 6 after his first Oiler goal off a feed from Draisaitl. He played 3:42 on the PK, 1:32 on the power play and 12:15 five-on-five in a terrific coming-out party game.

“It’s funny, I talked to him before the game and said, ‘Himes, I’m going to use you in a lot of different situations tonight.’ And he laughed and he goes, ‘OK.’ So that’s what you do and he delivers. He’s one of those guys, you send him over the boards and you know what you’re going to get. His work ethic is contagious,” said Tippett.

“He is the most annoying player to play against,” said Oiler defenceman Darnell Nurse, who played half the game (32:24), so much for Tippett saying earlier in the week he wanted to cut his minutes back this season.

“From playing against him in Toronto, he is always in your back pocket, no matter if you hit him or play him hard in the corners, he is always coming back,” said Nurse. “On top of that, he is able to go on the power play and create some great plays and finish with a goal like he scored. He really brings it everywhere and it all starts with his work ethic.”

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

While McDavid was in on the goals by Hyman and Jesse Puljujarvi to give him 24 points over the last 11 games against the Canucks, and Draisaitl delivered the room-service feed to Hyman on the PP, the second line of Hyman, Nugent-Hopkins and Kailer Yamamoto took a lot of heat off McDavid and Co.

“That line brought a relentless work ethic all night. Whenever they got the puck into their zone they were able to get on top of their d-men and fore turnovers. That is not a fun line to play against at all if you are a d-man,” said Nurse.

Hyman loved the buzz in the building after playing to empty houses in Toronto before he signed here.

“Hockey’s meant to be played in front of fans and for my first game as an Edmonton Oiler, they were awesome,” said Hyman. “It’s the little things you notice, whether you’re going in on a fore-check and make a play and the fans realize it, or with every hit there’s life, or when you score a goal, the roof feels like it’s going to come off.”

Mike Smith was on his way to his 43rd career shutout which would have tied him with Hall of Famer Gump Worsley but Canucks’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson beat him through traffic on a power play with the puck ticking off the stick of Nugent-Hopkins with 7 1/2 minutes left, then Quinn Hughes got one past the Oiler goalie short side at 17:11 to get it to OT, then the shootout.

In the end, a W on a night when they were strong five-on-five but in the penalty box far too much. “I like our game overall,” said McDavid. “I just didn’t like the penalties (five in the game). Our PK was good and they got a bounce (OEL shot) to get them going. But overall, I liked our intensity.”

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

MAKING AN IMPRESSION

Colton Sceviour endeared himself to his teammates and the fans when he jumped in to fight Tyler Myers, eight inches and 40 pounds heavier after Myers buried Duncan Keith with a resounding hit in the Oiler end in the second period. Clean hit, but Sceviour didn’t like it.

“You always say on the bench after a thing like this ‘let’s kill this penalty,” said Tippett. And they did.

This ‘n that:

  • Tippett and his coaches didn’t have to wear masks on the bench for exhibitions in Winnipeg and Everett, Wash. (Seattle Kraken), but had his face covered for the opener. “That’s still in the books in Alberta (COVID rules). On the road, I can talk. Here, it’ll be muzzled,” said Tippett.”
  • Ex-Oiler Alex Chiasson had five shots on Smith in 14 minutes work, because of all the penalties, Brendan Perlini played 5:37 and Ryan McLeod just 6:21 as fourth-liners.
  • Kris Russell got the nod to play with Evan Bouchard, his 9th game over Slater Koekkoek but it’s not permanent. “It’ll be a fluid situation,” said Tippett.. Shore skated briefly in a sweat-suit Wednesday but never put his gear on for the full practice and was scratched. He’s not on injured reserve so it’s a minor thing, likely a leg issue.
  • Josh Archibald (heart problem) has moved from IR to long-term injury status along with Oscar Klefbom and Alex Stalock which gives the Oilers $6.38 million in extra money to play with in terms of acquiring any other players as the season wears on.

Sign up to receive the Oil Spills newsletter , delivered straight to your inbox each weekday morning. Essential reading for Oilers fans who eat, sleep, breathe the orange and blue.

Latest National Stories

Advertisement

Story continues below

News Near Tillsonburg

This Week in Flyers