There’s never been much doubt how good @Evander Kane can be when the gate swings open within the confines of the rink. We got a look at that as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Washington Capitals 5-3 last night in a game that could have gone south and sent them to the all-star break in a far different mood.
On a night when the Oilers pumped three pucks behind starter Ilya Samsonov on four shots in the first 5:07 of the game only to blow a 3-0 lead early in the third period when Evgeny Kuznetsov banked a puck behind Mikko Koskinen on a play that had here-comes-the-fold-job all over it, I liked Kane. I liked him a lot.
Playing on a line with Kailer Yamamoto and Connor McDavid in his third game with the Oilers, Kane scored the 2-0 goal on a tip of a Duncan Keith point shot and picked up an assist on an empty net goal by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to make it 5-3. It was RNH who got the winner with his first of the night, a shorthanded goal to make it 4-3. Kane played 16:51 and he finished with seven hits and three shots. He also went looking for Garnet Hathaway after a big open-ice hit on McDavid, as did Yamamoto, of all people.
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As part of his high-event night, Kane provided a measure of drama when he was checked head-over-heels into Washington’s bench. Late in the second period, a blindside hit by Dmitry Orlov had him clutching his shoulder and heading down the tunnel to the dressing room in obvious discomfort. It obviously looked worse than it was as Kane was back on the ice ready to roll to start the third period. 

WHAT THEY SAY

The bottom line is Kane had an impact last night and he showed the dimensions – he can skate, bang and score — that convinced GM Ken Holland he was worth bringing into the fold in the first place. So far, so good as the Oilers hit the break at 5-0-1 in their last six games.
“It was a big win,” said Kane. “We got off to a great start. They pushed there in the (third period) and got a lucky one to tie it up but we stuck with it. It was a big goal on the PK to get us the lead there late in the third.”
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“He’s gotten better each game,” said coach Dave Tippett. “He hasn’t played much this year. First game, it’s hard that first game coming in, but last game, he was a little better and tonight better again. He’s a solid player. He does a lot of things well.
“He finds ways to capitalize on some chances around the net. Both his goals have been on deflections but he’s a big guy in front of the net. He gets rewarded to go there. So far, really pleased with what we’re seeing.”
No argument here.

Previously by Robin Brownlee