The Avalanche edge the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in a dandy O/T tilt in Denver

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The Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche treated fans to just a marvelous hockey game on Monday night.

It’s a shame either side had to lose, as the high skill on both clubs was in evidence in abundance over 60 minutes of regulation and into Overtime.

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.

Source: EdmontonJournal