The losing skid for the snake bitten Edmonton Oilers hits 6 games: Cult of Hockey Player Grades

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The Oilers losing skid hit 6 games Tuesday with a 5-1 loss at home to Toronto.

I’m not sure what is more maddening: The losing streak extending, or the fact that Edmonton probably outplayed the Leafs for long stretches. Toronto didn’t even register a shot on net in the 2 nd Period until they scored at 11:13. And that’s not even mentioning that the opposition had already scored 1 st again, for the 15 th time in the last 18 games.

The Oilers had their chances early. Kyle Turris rang one off the crossbar. And Leon Draisaitl will likely see visions of that 1 st Period wide-open net that he inexplicably missed in his sleep. But alas…

Here’s the tale of the tape.

Edmonton Oilers Player Grades

MIKKO KOSKINEN . 4. Mikko Koskinen made most of the saves that he should have against the Leafs. But Koskinen didn’t make a single save that he shouldn’t have. You can’t say he was over-worked. He stopped 20 of just 25 and was clearly outplayed by the goalie at the other end. And when they desperately need a stop from their goalie the Oilers didn’t get it. That Koskinen’s best save came after the game was well out of reach wasn’t lost on this viewer. Just not good enough.

CONNOR McDAVID . 4. Not much rhymed for 97 on this night. Over-committed to one side on the 3-0, and then when he did get across and into the lane the puck somewhat unluckily ticked off his stick and eluded Koskinen onwhat was a long deflection. Frustrating, as the Oilers had otherwise boxed the Leafs out on the play. Followed Nylander behind the net on the 4-0, leaving the Oilers out manned on coverage in front. 2 shots. Both his wingers had better outings.

JESSE PULJUJARVI . 5. Difficult to ignore the flow of play while he was on the ice. It was tilted on Edmonton’s favor. Puljujarvi had 3 shots and added 4 hits in a physical effort. But like so many of his teammates, he appears more than a little snake bitten. “E” for effort. But no “R” for results.

WARREN FOEGELE . 6. His effort (which was considerable) did not result in any kind of reward on the score sheet. Foegele had 4 shots on net to lead all forwards and did his fair share to drive the play North while he was on the ice. He impacted the game in a positive way but wouldn’t appear to have the hands of a Top-6 guy.

DARNELL NURSE . 5. It depends on how you look at that 1-0 goal. Either it was unlucky that the puck deflected off Nurse’s stick like it did (it was). But Darnell also failed to get a handle on the rebound and when he left his feet his lost all ability to take a man in front. Skated well, registered 6 shots, 3 hits in 23:47.

EVAN BOUCHARD . 4. A high-event game for Evan Bouchard. The puck was generally headed in the right direction with him on the ice. But in terms of high danger chances for/against, Bouchard was a part of 5 in each direction. 2 shots, 4 (!) give-aways in 18:49.

LEON DRAISAITL . 5. The turning point of this game may have been the missed net by Draisaitl when the game was still 0-0. A little later in the night he walked out of the corner all by himself and while he may have beat Campbell with the shot, the puck itself glanced off the side of the net. Was the high man on the 4-0 and when he went to cover Tavares in the high slot the pass skipped through to Reilly who was sneaking in from the point. 3 shots, 2 hits in 22:14. 50% on his draws.

RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS . 3. An awful giveaway on the 5-0 came when Nugent-Hopkins, normally a very responsible defensive player, tried to clear the zone through traffic instead of safely up the wall and out. That was 1 of 4 turnovers for him. 0 shots, -1. Its as if someone else was wearing #93 tonight.

KAILER YAMAMOTO . 2. Hasn’t had a shot in 6 games, including this one. The official game sheet only docked him for 1 giveaway. But they were exceedingly generous, as I counted 3…one in each Period. Absolutely crushed in chances for & against (9-15, 37% 5v5). If this keeps up, he’ll be in the press box.

DUNCAN KEITH. 6. By far and away the Oilers best defenceman. Duncan Keith very quickly and effectively moved the puck up, as was reflected in his 19-15, 56% CF at 5v5. Did get walked on one 1 st Period sortie. The game sheet says -2 but Keith was not even indirectly at fault either time. 5 shots. Played 23:34 impactful minutes.

CODY CECI. 4. Cody Ceci’s night started with a nasty turnover. And he was on the ice for 5 HDSC in all, ending with a -2. But when you review the game tape it’s obvious that Ceci was rarely the principle at-fault. But it certainly wasn’t one of his best performances. A very nice 1 st period pass to Ryan who tipped it wide.

DEREK RYAN . 4. Lost the face-off on the 1-0, and then was subsequently out battled by Tavares in front. Good chance on a 1 st period tip, one of 2 shots on the evening. 60% on his draws. Out-scored on the night. Again.

COLTON SCEVIOUR . 6. Colton Sceviour scored the Oilers only goal on the night, his 1 st as an Edmonton Oiler. And he earned it by going to the tough area in front of the Leafs net and was rewarded for doing so. Was on for the 1-0 but at one point he had to choose which of 3 Leafs to cover. Played 13:36. Has been the Oilers most consistent Bottom-6 performer for a while, now. It had been 9 games in-between 5v5 goals for the bottom 2 lines.

ZACK KASSIAN. 5. He giveth and he taketh away. Zack Kassian earned an assist on an aggressive play to the net on Sceviour’s 3-1 goal. But he also took a needless interference penalty 185 feet from his own net to abbreviate an Oilers power play. 2 shots, 4 hits.

MARCUS NIEMALAINEN . 5. The kid got caught in no-man’s land on the 2-0. Managed 2 hits. I saw him challenged to contain a strong bunch of Leafs skaters, but he mostly bent and didn’t break. Ended up 9-6, 60% CF 5v5. The 3 rd pairing of Niemalainen and Barrie had a reasonable outing over-all.

TYSON BARRIE . 5. Delivered just a lovely outlet pass which eventually led to the 3-1 goal. Managed just 1 shot on net of his own and was part of an 0-for-2 Oilers Power Play. Got on the wrong side of his man on the 2-0. But he was far from the biggest problem on this night. He and Niemalainen seem to compliment one another.

DEVIN SHORE . 3. Shore is a decent NHL player but he is not a full-time NHL Center. Evidence tonight came in a -3 performance. Lost a board battle on the 2-0. Couldn’t corral a Nugent-Hopkins pass on the 5-1. A good back-check intercepted a Leads chance in the high slot. Whistled for an offensive zone trip that his mates killed off. A rough night.

TYLER BENSON . 5. Made a decent impression during his 8:29 with probably the hardest hit delivered by either side on an aggressive 1 st period forecheck. And he took a pass from Turris for an excellent 2 nd Period chance. A take-away. Given the club’s inability to score as of late, maybe handing a kid with offensive up-side an extra couple shifts wouldn’t be a bad idea?

KYLE TURRIS. 5. Turris almost opened the scoring with a shot that rang off the bar behind Campbell. Threaded a pass to Benson for a good 2 nd Period chance. Couldn’t intercept a pass up the wall on the 2-0. 3 hits in 9:01.

Edmonton’s record slides to 16-11 on the season. And to add insult to injury, having tested positive for COVID, Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett is now potentially out until after Christmas.

It doesn’t seem to be getting better, does it?

Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

Source: EdmontonJournal