It was a welcome return to the level Brown expects himself to be at. The 29-year-old winger appeared in just four games for the Washington Capitals before tearing his ACL and undergoing season-ending knee surgery last year.
“I’m just grateful to be back, be at full health and to be playing again. And … it's a bonus to be able to celebrate a couple,” said Brown, who signed as a free agent with Edmonton this summer, reuniting him with former Erie Otters junior teammate McDavid.
“When he's on his game like that and he’s got puck on the string, it's fun to be out there with him,” Brown added about McDavid.
Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft was pleased to see Brown break out.
“We think he can be a very important player in our forward grouping,” he noted. “He put in a lot of work, especially in the summertime, to ensure he was feeling good heading into camp.
“I think he is going to fit our team like a glove.”
“It was a good learning experience,” Duehr said. “They had a very veteran NHL roster over there and we had a lot of young guys pushing to be NHL guys. You can learn a lot from a game like tonight. We just weren’t good enough.”
The Oilers’ dangerous power play got them on the board six minutes into the opening period as McDavid drove wide before chipping a wrist shot over the shoulder of Calgary goalie Dan Vladar for his third of the pre-season.
Edmonton added to its lead a minute-and-a-half later as McDavid sent a pass into the slot to former junior teammate Brown, who blasted a one-timer into the net for his first goal in an Oilers uniform.
Calgary battled back into the game with a power-play goal coming with four minutes remaining in the first frame as veteran defender Zadorov lugged the puck out from his own zone before beating Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner cleanly with a long wrist shot.
The Flames knotted the game back up with two minutes left in the first as Martin Pospisil stole a puck behind the net and fed it in front to Duehr, who unleashed a bullet past Skinner.
Edmonton surged back in front two minutes into the second period as Kane sent Pederson in on a clear breakaway and beat Vladar to further his case to land a roster spot.
The Oilers made it 4-2 midway through the second period as Evan Bouchard fed it across to Draisaitl in the seam and he crept up before unleashing a wicked wrister that beat Vladar.
Some gritty work by McDavid led to another Edmonton goal with 6:20 left in the middle period as he poked the puck away in the crease and got it across to Brown for his second goal of the game.
Vladar made a big gaffe midway through the third period as he coughed the puck up to McDavid, who sent it all the way across to Kane to deposit it into a wide-open net.
The Oilers took a five-goal lead with a power-play marker with five minutes to play as Dylan Holloway sent it in front from behind the net to Lavoie, who made no mistake wiring it into the net.
Edmonton dressed close to its expected regular-season lineup, while Calgary had only seven players expected to be there for opening night, doing without their top six forwards and the bulk of their defensive corps… The next time the two Alberta-based teams will meet is in the Heritage Classic outdoor game at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Oct. 29. The Oilers announced on Wednesday that Nickelback will be playing during the second intermission.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 4, 2023.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press