Edmonton Oilers charge out of the gate don't look back in definitive 6-1 triumph over Carolina: Cult of Hockey Player Grades

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The Edmonton Oilers quite literally flipped the script on the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday night in a 6-1 victory, their 5th straight.

After being down 4-0 after 1 in Carolina a few games back (a miserable effort, to be sure), the Oilers burst out of the gate in this one, in the return match. Edmonton scored twice in 41 seconds, the 2nd fastest outburst from the start of a game in franchise history.

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And yes, they also led after 20, 4-0. Just as the ‘Canes had in the previous encounter.

From there, a complete effort & good goaltending to close out a no-doubter.

Here’s the tale of the tape…

Edmonton Oilers Player Grades

STUART SKINNER. 8. Faced 16 1st Period shots. That sounds worse than it was, as many were from the outside. Nonetheless Skinner was perfect over 20. A nice job of defending on a jam in front in the 1st. Good stop on Teravainen. A bigger one on Jarvis in tight. Fine stop on Aho at the doorstep on a 2nd Period PK. Solid 3rd Period denial on Martinook. A quick toe with a second left. 38 stops in all. It appears as if Stuart Skinner has settled nicely into a groove in net.

CONNOR McDAVID. 8. Burned Pesce with a spin-o-rama then floated a lovely pass through coverage to Ekholm back-door for the 2-0. Picked up the loose puck in the neutral zone at the beginning of a tic-tac-toe play on the 4-0. Sprung Hyman for a dangerous net drive early in the 2nd.  Beat 3 Hurricanes including absolutely turnstile-ing Brett Burns before dishing off to Hyman for the hat trick. 59% on draws. Seems impossible that he did not get a star in this game.

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RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS. 7. Very good game. No assist for him but won the draw on the sequence leading to the 2-0. A simply splendid feed past a defender and onto the stick of the waiting Zach Hyman for the 4-0. Stripped Burns of the puck on the PK and went it for a short-handed chance. Fine 2nd period back-check. +4.

ZACH HYMAN. 9. A key part of a withering Oilers forecheck that ended in Zach Hyman driving the puck around a defender then hard to the net for the 3-0. Then slammed home a one-timer at the hasher for the 4-0. Took a 1st Period tripping minor but his mates killed it off. Nearly had the hat trick with a drive to the net early in the 2nd. Got it in the 3rd, though, the recipient of a highlight reel set-up from McDavid. +4. The 1st Star and well-deserved.

DARNELL NURSE. 5. A good 1st Period stick even though this D-pairing was crushed 5v5 over the first 20. A key shot blocked right at the crease on the 2nd Period PK. Zero reason to pinch with a 5-0 lead then did not get back to defend the 3-on-1 which turned into the 5-1. Docked a full point for that ill-timed decision. High Dangers 4-9 5v5.

CODY CECI. 5. This Oilers pairing frequently bent but rarely broke in a tough slog for them. Ceci’s 5v5 High Dangers For/Against in a 6-1 win was 4-9. But just a dandy poke check stripped the puck from a darting Kotkaniemi in the 1st. And a hard wrist shot nabbed early in the 2nd.

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LEON DRAISAITL. 5. Good not great. Terrific 2nd Period pass to Nugent-Hopkins but The Nuge could not convert. Set up Brown for a glorious chance but he could not bury it. Sent Kane in along in the 3rd but Evander was stopped twice. 56% in the circle.

EVANDER KANE. 5. Shot off a Draisaitl faceoff win in the 2nd. Double chance in the 3rd but stymied after a nice pass from Draisaitl. 4 hits.

CONNOR BROWN. 5. Solid clear on 1st Period PK. Excellent back-check deep into his own zone in the 2nd. Could not finish a fine 3rd period setup from Draisaitl. Hit the post a shift later. Seems snake bitten.

MATTIAS EKHOLM. 7. The Oilers top pairing (tonight) of Ekholm and Bouchard was terrific. Deposited a perfect McDavid feed back-door for the 2-0. Not 1 but 2 fine sticks interrupted Carolina sorties during a single shift in the 2nd. High Dangers 5v5 6-2. 3 hits, 3 shots. Ekholm was in full command. +2.

EVAN BOUCHARD. 8. Fed a sharp vertical pass down the McDavid for the 2-0. Parted the sea with a nifty dangle down the seam. Seconds later drew two defenders to him as he dished off to Janmark on Hyman’s 3-0. Then, a good second effort on the back-track helped feed the transition on the 4-0. Really dug in against his check in the D-zone after a shot had snapped his stick. We often criticize Bouchard’s defensive play but that was a shining example of what he is capable of. Good for him.

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RYAN McLEOD. 7. Rewarded handsomely for going to the net where he took a pass from Foegele from behind the goal line and opened the scoring. 55% CF 5v5. As confident as Mcleod has looked all season. This line started the game based on strong performances in practice this past week and they did not waste the trust the coach placed in them, by scoring on the very first shift of the game.

WARREN FOEGELE. 7. A hard-charging forecheck helped pop loose a puck which Foegele slipped out front to a waiting McLeod for the 1-0. Fed Ceci for a good chance early in the 2nd. A burst of speed saw him pull away from Kotkaniemi. he then deked the goalie, stopped at the net and then plowed the puck home. Tremendous effort.

SAM GAGNER. 5. Dropped his man then fired the stolen puck on net in the 1st. Excellent 2nd Period back-check. Could not quite finish a feed in front as the pass went into his skates. A shot close-in next shift. 3 shots in all. Solid.

BRETT KULAK. 7. Fine defending on Stall on a 2nd Period net drive. Fed a puck through to Gagner in front for a dangerous opportunity. High Dangers 11-2 with him on the ice 5v5. A very solid 17:36. One of his better performances so far in 2023-24.

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VINCENT DESHARNAIS. 7. An impressive leap & clear on the late 1st Period PK. Whistled for a weak cross-check call in the 2nd. High Dangers 10-2 5v5. Played over 17 minutes. Very solid.

JAMES HAMBLIN. 5. A hard 1st Period forecheck led to a chance at the doorstep. 3rd Period shot block. 55% on draws.

DEREK RYAN. 5. Levelled a much bigger Jordan Staal in the 1st. A clever clear up the wall to exit the zone in the 2nd.

MATTIAS JANMARK. 8. Secondary assist on the 1-0 by taking at hit at his own blueline. Net front on the 3-0. Ragged the puck brilliantly on a late 1st Period PK. Earned his 3rd assist of the night on a shot block which sprung Foegele on the 5-0. His best game of the season.

Edmonton has won 5 straight, clawing back to 10-12-1, 21 points. They are 6 behind of the final wild card in the West.

Now on Threads @kleavins. Also, find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins, Instagram at LeavinsOnHockey, and Mastodon at [email protected]

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