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Connor McDavid plays 1st game since late-season knee injury

Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid played his first game Tuesday night since suffering a knee injury in last year's season finale.

Edmonton centre tore left PCL in final outing of last season

Connor McDavid made his return to game action Tuesday in a pre-season tilt with the Arizona Coyotes. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid played his first game since suffering a knee injury in last year's season finale.

The Oilers said earlier Tuesday McDavid would make his 2019 pre-season debut against the visiting Arizona Coyotes.

"He's wanted to play for three weeks. Between doctors and our organization, we just wanted to make sure everything was right," Edmonton head coach Dave Tippett said. "He's practised hard for two weeks. He's itching to play."

Adin Hill made 39 saves as the Coyotes came away with a 4-2 victory over the Oilers.  

McDavid logged 19 minutes 42 seconds of ice time — including three minutes on the power play — and registered two shots on goal. 

"I felt a little rusty, but that's to be expected in the first pre-season game. It was nice to be out there, for sure," said McDavid. "I was able to push myself like nothing happened, so I was happy about that. Obviously, a game is a lot different than a practice, so it was good to get in one."

McDavid tore his left posterior cruciate ligament when he crashed into a goalpost in April against the Calgary Flames.

The 22-year-old centre from Newmarket, Ont., had said he hoped to return to game action during the exhibition schedule.

Edmonton has two exhibition games remaining, but McDavid is uncertain if he will play again prior to the season opener next Wednesday. 

"At that point, it's up to the coach and who he wants to see," McDavid said. "Obviously I'd like to keep playing, but it's ultimately up to him and the line-up he wants to see."

McDavid finished second in league scoring with 116 points in 2018-19, but even that couldn't get the Oilers into the post-season as the franchise missed the playoffs for the third time in his four NHL campaigns.

McDavid led the league in scoring the previous two seasons.

This year, the Oilers have a new coach in Tippett and a new general manager in Ken Holland.

Monahan, Bennett lead Flames past Jets

Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett scored for Calgary in a 2-0 win over the visiting Winnipeg Jets.

Monahan and Bennett collected their second goals of the pre-season while goaltender David Rittich posted a 20-save shutout for the Flames (3-2-1).

Jets goaltender Eric Comrie allowed two goals on 20 shots over two periods. Mikhail Berdin repelled all 13 he faced in the third for Winnipeg (2-2-1).

WATCH | Flames too hot for Jets in shutout victory

David Rittich stopped all 20 shots he faced in the Flames' 2-0 victory over the Jets in Calgary. 1:15

Calgary had more big names in its lineup — Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Giordano — than the Jets, who were minus captain Blake Wheeler, forwards Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers and top goaltender Connor Hellebuyck on Tuesday.

Both teams are trying to ink deals with key restricted free agents before the regular season begins — Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor for Winnipeg and Matthew Tkachuk for Calgary.

Tkachuk's absence gives Bennett top-six playing time on a line with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik.

Milan Lucic, acquired in a July trade with the Edmonton Oilers, filled Tkachuk's net-front role for Calgary's top power-play unit Tuesday.

After a scoreless first period, the hosts struck twice in a 33-second span starting with Monahan's power-play goal at 13:37.

Bennett shovelled the puck under Comrie's right pad on a feed from Backlund at 14:10.

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