EDMONTON — Right wing was considered a weakness for the Edmonton Oilers heading into this season, but the trio of Ty Rattie, Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto seem to be defying that prediction in pre-season play.
Rattie had a hat trick and Cam Talbot recorded a shutout as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks 6-0 on Tuesday in pre-season play. With the three-goal performance, Rattie upped his league-leading point total to 10 in three games played.
Puljujarvi also scored a pair of goals to give him four in the pre-season, and Oscar Klefbom added another for the Oilers who improved to 4-1 in exhibition action. Yamamoto had an assist in the contest to give him four goals and seven points.
"They’ve taken advantage of the position they’ve been put in and they all look confident … We’ve turned what we considered a weakness into a strength," said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan.
Much has been made of Rattie’s play with Connor McDavid on the top line to this point, but the Oilers captain said he has also been quite impressed with Puljujarvi.
"He’s just got another step. He must have had a good summer," McDavid said. "He’s got skill. The goal he scored on the power play, I zipped it in there on his backhand and sometimes that’s a tough play when you’re going full speed. He handled it perfectly and got off an amazing shot."
Talbot had 35 saves to blank Vancouver.
The Canucks are now 1-5.
"We have to think of the positives through this," said Canucks forward Bo Horvat.
"To me the score didn’t indicate the game and that we played pretty well in the first two periods. We just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities."
The Oilers started the scoring seven-and-a-half minutes into the opening period as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fed it ahead to Rattie, who beat Vancouver goalie Anders Nilsson.
Edmonton made it 2-0 on the power play with just over a minute left in the middle period when Rattie sent a hopeful shot on net that trickled in past Nilsson for his second of the game.
The Oilers extended their lead six minutes into the third as McDavid sent Puljujarvi in on a partial breakaway and he buried the chance.
Puljujarvi scored his second of the game off a face-off midway through the final frame.
Just over a minute later, completed the hat trick off a feed from McDavid, who hit seven points on the play. It was Rattie’s pre-season leading seventh goal.
Klefbom added yet another Edmonton goal in the final minute.
Notes: The Canucks close out the pre-season in Kelowna against Arizona on Saturday. Vancouver plays its first regular season game at home against Calgary on Oct. 3.
The Oilers have three more pre-season games, hosting the Coyotes on Thursday. They wrap up exhibition action in Cologne, Germany on Oct. 3, before starting the regular season on Oct. 6 in Sweden against New Jerseyâ€¦ Edmonton defeated the Canucks 4-2 in their other pre-season meetingâ€¦ Both teams dressed very close to what are expected to be their regular season starting lineups.