UNIONDALE, N.Y. — James Neal scored four goals, and the Edmonton Oilers won their third straight game to start the season, 5-2 against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday.
Neal, acquired in a trade from the Calgary Flames on July 19, set an Oilers record for the most goals (six) in the first three games of a season. He had seven in 63 games with the Flames last season.
“That’s definitely pretty cool,” Neal said. “It feels good to put on an Oilers uniform. I love the way our team is playing so far.”
[WATCH: All Oilers vs. Islanders highlights]
Connor McDavid had three assists, and Mikko Koskinen made 25 saves for Edmonton, which opened a four-game road trip.
“That’s the best game we’ve played so far,” said Dave Tippett, who’s begun his tenure as Oilers coach with three straight wins. “Kind of more towards the team game that we’re looking for. I thought we really worked hard, we managed the puck pretty well most of the time, discipline was pretty good, power play was pretty good, penalty kill not too often.
“Even when we were in our zone a little bit, I thought we were pretty solid, like not giving up a lot. So that’s more to working to where who we want to be.”
Anthony Beauvillier and Matt Martin scored for New York, which has lost two of its first three games, all at home. Semyon Varlamov allowed four goals on 19 shots and was pulled in the second period. Thomas Greiss made seven saves in relief.
“We’ve got to reflect a little bit on this one,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. “It wasn’t a very good effort. Top to bottom, we were just kind of all over the place. We gave them too much room, didn’t close on them and we were sloppy. A team like that with that much skill, we can’t give them that kind of space. Our overall effort was just disappointing.”
Beauvillier gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal at 14:14 of the first period. With Brock Nelson in the box for interference, Leo Komarov gained control of the puck near the Oilers blue line, spun and passed to Beauvillier, who was alone in the slot and scored on a backhand shot.
Neal tied it 1-1 with a slap shot from just outside the right face-off circle after a turnover by Derick Brassard at 17:53 of the first.
The Oilers took a 2-1 lead when Neal scored his second of the game with a power-play goal at 19:29 of the first period. After Nelson received a double-minor for high sticking Oscar Klefbom, Neal took a pass from McDavid near the right goal post and quickly shot it past Varlamov.
Neal completed the hat trick with another power-play goal at 6:31 of the second when he redirected Klefbom’s feed for his fifth of the season to make it 3-1.
Edmonton went 2-for-5 on the power play.
“We took too many penalties,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s not a winning combination when the only two things that you did for the most part tonight was win face-offs and turn pucks over.”
The Oilers chased Varlamov when Zack Kassian made it 4-1 at 8:46 of the second.
Neal scored his fourth of the game from the bottom of the right circle to make it 5-1 at 6:51 of the third period.
“[Neal] found his groove there,” Tippett said. “He had 11 or 12 attempts at net, so good for him, get on the board. I give him credit; he’s come in here, he’s a real energized player. He’s helped our group, not just scoring some goals, but he’s really helped our group with giving some juice in the locker room. Happy to see him doing well.”
Martin scored at 13:32 of the third for the 5-2 final. Nelson had a goal taken away at 16:48 when video review determined the puck was kicked in.
“We certainly didn’t quit, so that’s a positive,” Martin said. “But we’ve got get out of the gates better. We haven’t really come out of the gates in the first period and played well at all yet. In our building, that’s usually our forte. We’ve got to do a better job of that.”
They said it
“You obviously want to play with skilled players. These guys are on another level, so it’s been really fun to play with them and getting to know them. They’re unbelievable out there.” — Oilers forward James Neal
“Way too much space. I think we were looking for an easy game. I’m disappointed with that because we knew it wasn’t going to be.” — Islanders coach Barry Trotz
Need to know
Tippett won his 556th NHL game, tying Marc Crawford for 21st on the all-time list. … Center Riley Sheahan was activated off injured reserve and made his Oilers debut. … Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson had an assist in his NHL debut. The 19-year-old was a first-round pick (No. 12) in the 2018 Draft. … Beauvillier has scored in back to back games. … Komarov has an assist in each of New York’s first three games. … Islanders forward Josh Bailey played his 800th NHL game.
Oilers: At the New Jersey Devils on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, MSG+, SNW, NHL.TV)
Islanders: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-CR, MSG+, NHL.TV)