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But in extra time, an unlucky turn (Nurse losing his helmet) ended up giving the Av’s a 2-on-1 break which Nathan McKinnon made no mistake on. Make the final 3-2. But as a fan, I’ll take 2 more (almost) just like that, please.
The Oilers did lose the special teams battle, even if a couple fortunate bounces factored significantly into that: Oilers 0-2, the AV’s 2-5 on the man advantage.
Here’s the tale of the tape…
Edmonton Oilers Player Grades
MIKE SMITH. 7. A big part of the point earned and perhaps a little unfortunate to not earn both. None of the 3 goals were on Mike Smith at all. Unlucky on the 1-0 goal. Any goaltender will play the pass from behind the goal line on that play. But the bounce off Barrie landed right on Rantanen’s stick with a wide-open net to slide the puck into. The 2nd goal deflected off Nurse’s chest and in. And no NHL goalie stops that MacKinnon high cheese in O/T. Handled the puck expertly. An excellent pass up to Keith led eventually to a dangerous chance by McLeod. Stopped 28-31. Wouldn’t it be fortunate if both Oilers goalies found their groove at the same time.
CONNOR McDAVID. 7. McDavid eat Toews wide for a dangerous 1st Period chance. Started the sequence on the 1-1 with a feed to Draisaitl. Teamed up with Tyson Barrie on 2 good 3rd Period chances from the point. Couldn’t manage to stop the pass across to MacKinnon in O/T. 2 shots, 2 blocks (!) and a strong 72% in the faceoff circle. Played the entire game at high speed. The Power Play went 0-2 but generated a number of good chances.
EVANDER KANE. 9. The best of a very good bunch of Oilers on the night. Evander Kane’s speed, strength, skill and grit were on display for all to see. Started the sequence on the 2-2 with a thudding hit behind the goal line and then finished it, too, with a beautiful backhand, fore-hand, shelf-job. Drew a 2nd Period Power Play. Lost track of the puck in his feet in the neutral zone in Overtime. But was “on” in this one. Led the club with 6 hits…a few of them echoing loudly through the arena.
KAILER YAMAMOTO. 8. Brimming with confidence. Scored the 1-1 goal by drilling home a cross-ice pass from Draisaitl right to Yamamoto on the doorstep. And then a physical play helped turn the puck over, with Yamamoto then funneling a pass through to Evander Kane for the 2-2. Also, an excellent PP chance on a pass from McDavid. In the box on a questionable hooking call when the AV’s scored the 2-1. Gamely fought many battles were he was giving up 4-6 inches of height.
DARNELL NURSE. 7. This top pairing faced a serious dose of real high-level competition. An excellent stick on Makar early. Unlucky in overtime as his helmet came off, forcing him off the ice. That gave the Av’s a narrow advantage on the ice that they took advantage off with an odd man break for the winner. A year ago, prior to the rule change, that goal probably isn’t scored. Also debatable whether Kadri knocked it off versus it being incidental. 3 shots, 3 hits, 2 blocks on the night in 22:52. Colorado attacked often but Nurse was frequently up to the task. HDSC For-Against were 1-3.
CODY CECI. 7. A big shot block and seconds later a clear on a critical Colorado power play. Another key clear on the next Av’s PP too. But he and Nurse faced a stiff parade all night long and did allow a few chances to slip on through. Chances For-Against 5v5 was 6-14, although HDs were just 1-3 which again…suggests these 2 bent but rarely broke.
LEON DRAISAITL. 8. Leon Draisaitl dished a picture-perfect pass across the slot and to a waiting Kailer Yamamoto net side for the 1-1. HAs 2 shots of his own. Hauled right down in his own zone but no call arrived, yet Yamamoto was whistled for an iffy one moments later. Was an excellent 62% on draws, including a bunch in his own zone and against strong faceoff opponents. Routinely back on the high man when Colorado counter punched. In a playoff hockey atmosphere Draisaitl was up for the challenge.
ZACH HYMAN. 6. A partial break in the 3rd but couldn’t cash. Took a licking on one hard push into the Av’s zone after another but kept on ticking. Not rewarded with a point but you can see how valuable he will be in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.
JESSE PULJUJARVI. 5. There was effort from Jesse, but Puljujarvi just didn’t seem to be in-synch. Took a hooking penalty which turned into the 1-0 goal. Played just 11:27. 2 shots.
DUNCAN KEITH. 7. This may have been the Oilers best pairing on the evening although the Nurse-Ceci pair faced a tough parade on their watch. A terrific stretch pass from Keith to McLeod for a chance. 2 blocked shots. After an off-game last time out Keith was back to his recent stretch of strong play.
EVAN BOUCHARD. 7. One of Evan Bouchard’s steadier efforts defensively against a great offensive team as he and Keith formed an effective pairing. That must be a confidence builder for him. 2 shots, 2 blocks and a hit in 15:37. Led the D-men in 5v5 CF at 16-10, 62%.
DEVIN SHORE. 5. This line more-or-less held their own. 2 shots in 8:57. Solid.
DEREK RYAN. 5. A line of zeros in his box score. But that doesn’t really tell the story of how steady Ryan was. Only 1 HDSC against.
WARREN FOEGELE. 6. Played a strong game and was elevated to the 2nd line because of it. Skated in straight lines, was dogged on pucks and physical in one-on-one puck battles. No points for his effort, which was otherwise noticeable. A late O-zone turnover was a rare exception.
TYSON BARRIE. 6. An unlucky puck bounce off his chest deflected right back to Rantanen and in behind Mike Smith for the 1-0 PP goal. Barrie was otherwise effective in this one, allowing only one dangerous 5v5 chance on his watch. He and Russell were a reliable pair, 19:45 of TOI for Barrie.
KRIS RUSSELL. 6. Blocked a team-high 5 shots, added 3 hits in an excellent effort. One of those blocks came with the game tied late and McDavid in the box for a high-sticking call. Was knocked off the puck early in the sequence leading to the 1-0 goal. HAs returned from injury with purpose.
RYAN McLEOD. 6. An early faceoff win turned into a Bouchard shot on net. Teamed up with Russell for an important PK clear. Swallowed up a Duncan Keith stretch pass and converted it into a dangerous 3rd Period shot. His speed matched up well with a very fast Colorado club.
BRAD MALONE. 6. A very good 2-way effort in a limited role. An early pass to Kassian led to a scoring chance. 0 High Danger Scoring chances against 5v5. Skated 8:47, 2:12 SH. 5 hits.
ZACK KASSIAN. 5. A good early chance off a Malone pass was his only shot. 3 hits. Positive flow of play with him on the ice.
The tie draws the Oilers to within a point of 3rd place in the Pacific with 75 points, just back of L.A. but with a game in hand.