The Oilers took care of business in Anaheim, now can they build off it?

Connor McDavid scored an incredible goal and added an assist while Klim Kostin found the back of the net twice to help the Edmonton Oilers earn a 6-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks.

ANAHEIM — If you had to call it something, how about this: Taking care of business. 

The Anaheim Ducks are as legit an entry into the Connor Bedard sweepstakes as there is in the National Hockey League, but they took two points out of Edmonton the last time these teams met. So when you are Edmonton, coming off a bad night in Los(s) Angeles, it was imperative that you put the pedal down on the woeful waterfowl of Anaheim. 

Mission accomplished, in an easy 6-2 win. 

“It’s a tight race,” began Connor McDavid, who had an extra gear Wednesday on a 1-1-2 night with eight shots on goal. “I’ve been saying this all year: someone’s going to put a stretch together. L.A.’s done that, Seattle as well. So, it’s a big opportunity for us to respond.” 

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One in a row is better than the alternative, and with games in San Jose and Las Vegas left on this trip, there’s no better time to start building a game that has some consistency to it. 

No one was beating their chest after that win at the Honda Center, but this was like a cold drink in the desert for an Oilers team that hasn’t been scoring the way it’s used to, and hasn’t defended very well either. The Oilers led 2-0 just 4:38 into the night, and 4-1 by the first intermission. 

“It’s important to have a good start … especially against a young group,” said McDavid. “Get on top of them early. Make sure that they know it’s going to be a hard night.” 

The penalty-killing units that surrendered four goals against the Kings were perfect in three attempts in Anaheim, and the 0-for-6 power play scored once in three tries. With McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each scoring once, Edmonton still got to six, thanks to depth scoring from Klim Kostin’s pair and singles by Dylan Holloway and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ 20th. 

Head coach Jay Woodcroft thought the three scraps his team had in Period 3 of the Kings game, a season-high, bled into this one. 

“What I really liked about our team was their push and fight and passion for each other in that third period in L.A. I thought that went into tonight’s game,” Woodcroft said. “We controlled the play from the start, got contributions from lots of different people and special teams were excellent tonight. The recipe is a good one for us.” 

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It’s funny: The Oilers outshot Anaheim 49-17 at home and lost, 4-3, on Dec. 17. Here, in Anaheim, they outshot the Ducks 53-23 and won, 6-2. That ties a team record for shots on goal in a road game, equalling the mark set against the Colorado Rockies back in 1981. 

“There’s not any rhyme or reason to this game sometimes,” McDavid said, smiling. “Sometimes you run into a hot goalie, and other nights the puck just kind of bounces in and around and finds a way in the net somehow. It’s just important to get in the win column.” 

In a season where the youngsters haven’t helped nearly as much as hoped — guys like Evan Bouchard, Jesse Puljujarvi, Ryan McLeod and Kailer Yamamoto — a pair of young players are emerging as the Oilers set sail into the second half of the season. 

Kostin has five goals in his past seven games, and the rookie Holloway stepped up onto McDavid’s wing and made an immediate impact with a goal. You never know where the support scoring is going to come from — or if it will come at all. But teams that make the playoffs get goals from support players, and it’s not too late for a few to start helping the cause in Edmonton. 

“(Holloway) skates really well, and you can see his confidence growing,” McDavid said. “That’s the main thing — he’s wanting the puck, holding on to the puck, winning battles and making plays like we saw early in the year.” 

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Bouchard has four assists and is plus-5 in the first two games of this road trip, as he tried to turn his season around in the second half. And McLeod was all around the net but lacked finish Wednesday — he had one against the Kings and could have had two more here. 

Then there is Kostin, who has had a pair of two-goal games but no hat tricks yet. He rang one off the iron late against the Ducks. 

“I don’t deserve a hat trick yet. I have to work a little harder,” he deadpanned. 

You can see his game coming, but will his team follow suit? 

The Oilers need to win more than one in a row to close ground on Seattle and L.A. Or keep pace with the Calgary Flames, for that matter. 

“It would be nice, but we need to work for it,” Kostin declared. “We need to put in the effort and play smart.”

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