Kane finds scoring touch, chemistry with Perry as Oilers quickly bounce back

Evander Kane scored his eighth NHL hat trick, Connor McDavid had three assists, and Leon Draisaitl got the game-winning goal as the Edmonton Oilers tallied three straight in the third for a 5-3 comeback win over the Anaheim Ducks.

ANAHEIM — Corey Perry tracked a puck in behind the Anaheim net, just a split second after goalie John Gibson steered it to the corner. Perry slashed the stick right out of Gibson’s hands — just because.

He is six-foot-three and 208 pounds. But to this day Perry is like a human green screen, cruising from infraction to infraction, somehow invisible to the eyes of the common referee.

Then, while everyone in the rink focused on Gibson — his palms to the ceiling wondering how on earth the officials could let that slash go — Perry followed the play into the corner and deftly tripped young Bo Groulx. Or perhaps Groulx (cough) stepped on Perry’s (cough) stick.

Nobody noticed the trip, either.

You can guess what happened next: Evander Kane walked out of the corner with the puck and ripped it past a clearly distracted Gibson. Tie game.

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The crowd booed, roundly, while even the X account of the Anaheim Ducks — for whom Perry played almost 1,000 games, each one greasier than the last — tweeted, “There was a time when we loved when he did stuff like this.”

“It’s nice to have him on our side,” smiled Leon Draisaitl, after a 5-3 Edmonton Oilers win. “He’s just a master at playing the game within the game. He’s done it all his life.”

Ironically, Perry had been elevated to the second line for this game, a skilled assignment along with Draisaitl and Kane — who had a hat trick. That line was easily Edmonton’s best.

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But even among the scorers, Perry brought his stock and trade to the party. About 25 minutes later, even the official scorer relented, giving Perry his first ever point as an Oiler, an assist on that Kane goal.

“That compete level never leaves,” Perry, 38, said before the game. “When you get on the ice, it really doesn’t matter where you’re playing. You’re trying to win. You are getting a little older but you still know how to play this game. You’ve still got to think your way around the arena.”

Kane put his hat trick goal into an empty net, a welcome warm-up after he’d gone 12 games with just a single goal. But it was the chemistry of that unit — the silky centreman, a gun-for-hire on the left side, and the sneaky dirty Perry on the right — that really stood out here at The Pond.

The Ducks couldn’t handle three big men, all with good hands, as the Oilers beat them for the sixth consecutive time.

“He’s another guy that is able to play in the dirty areas. And he enjoys it,” Kane said of Perry. “It creates havoc and space down low, where you’re attracting as much attention like he does.

“I’m in there with (Ilya) Lyubushkin, giving him some shots, and the next thing you know there’s another guy in there. And Lyubushkin has disappeared all the sudden. So it’s nice to have a little backup in the scrums, that’s for sure.”

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If you’re ordering pizza, no. If you want to win a playoff series, yes.

And it’s something a skill-based Oilers team has never had enough of.

“It’s part of the game, right? You’ve got to be on that line,” said Mattias Ekholm, who played half a game next to Cody Ceci and the other half back with familiar partner Evan Bouchard as the pairs were shuffled. “You’ve got to try to find an edge for yourself, little things here and there. That’s probably why he’s been so successful in his league.”

This game had a series of heroes for Edmonton, as starter Calvin Pickard stopped all kinds of odd-man rushes and close-in chances in the opening 30 minutes to give the Oilers any chance of rescuing two points.

Kane found his touch on a dominant night, while Connor McDavid (three assists) put a beautiful pass on Zach Hyman’s tape for the equalizer at 8:41 of the third period. When Leo Carlsson tripped Ekholm 20 seconds later, the Edmonton power play came over the boards on a mission.

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That unit won three faceoffs and created four scoring opportunities when Draisaitl finally cashed 1:06 into the power play. On a night where the power play would get just two kicks at the cat, they were simply too much for the Anaheim penalty killers at that moment.

They were relentless.

“We needed a goal, and they were they were dialed in and focused. It was gonna be pretty tough to stop them,” said head coach Kris Knoblauch.

“You need your power play to come up big and that was the time.”

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