The writing was already on the wall on New Year’s Eve. The Flyers again struggled to keep pace in Calgary, and after falling in regulation were going to Edmonton to face an Oilers team that has been rolling. The Oilers entered with wins in five straight games, the most recent being a 7-2 victory of the Ducks on Sunday night. The best player in the world had only one point in that seven-goal barrage. On Tuesday night, he single-handedly dismantled the Flyers.
Connor McDavid opened the scoring and added an assists on each of the remaining Edmonton goals, as the Flyers dropped the final game of the four-game road trip with a 5-2 defeat to the Oilers.
Shots on goal were limited early, but both teams showed a willingness to put shots toward the net right away. As the first period wore on, the Oilers started to take command of possession and eventually turned a counter-rush into the opening goal.
McDavid finished off a rush after Travis Sanheim was clipped and fell, going around the Flyers defender before putting a shot on Carter Hart that leaked through, making it 1-0 Edmonton at 15:55 on his 14th goal of the season.
The two teams exchanged abbreviated power-play opportunities in the opening period, but were unable to score. Through 20 minutes, shots were 13-10 Edmonton.
The Oilers continued to drive play in the early stages of the second. It eventually turned into another goal, as McDavid picked up the 900th point of his career in style. A no-look pass to the slot for a wide-open Zach Hyman created Hyman’s 22nd goal of the season, making it 2-0 Edmonton at 8:12.
The Flyers did have an answer three minutes later. At 11:10, Sean Couturier started a play from the defensive zone by flipping a pass ahead and creating a two-on-one. Joel Farabee moved the puck ahead to Travis Konecny, who got behind the defense and scored his 18th goal of the season to cut the lead to one.
With three minutes to play in the period, the Flyers used hustle to create another goal off the rush. Farabee won a race to a loose puck and dropped it back to Konecny. Konecny then hit the trailer, Marc Staal, who scored his first goal of the season and as a Flyer to tie the game at two.
But before the period came to a close, Edmonton’s lethal power play finally struck on their third attempt of the night. Konecny just missed stealing the puck for a potential breakaway, but instead the failed clear allowed the Oilers to quickly cycle the puck to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the go-ahead goal with 54.9 seconds remaining in the period to make it 3-2.
Through two periods, shots were 24-23 Edmonton.
The momentum continued for the Oilers to start the third. On an extended delayed penalty call, McDavid picked up his fourth point of the night and set up Leon Draisaitl for his 18th goal of the season, extending the lead to two again.
After the Flyers failed to score on another power play, the Oilers put it away for good with 8:41 remaining in the third. McDavid picked up his fifth point of the night, setting up Nugent-Hopkins for his second goal of the game.
Hart finished with 29 saves on 34 shots in the loss. Stuart Skinner made 34 saves on 36 shots in the win.
In addition to McDavid’s five-point night, Nugent-Hopkins and Hyman each had three points while Draisaitl had two. Konecny and Farabee also had two points for the Flyers.
The Flyers return home for their next game on Thursday night, facing off against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 p.m.