Edmonton Oilers pushed to brink, with commanding 3-2 victory by Vancouver in Game 5: Cult of Hockey Player Grades

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The Edmonton Oilers have been pushed to the brink of elimination after a last-minute, 3-2 loss in Vancouver in Game 5.

The Canucks were the better team on the balance of the night, including on special teams where Vancouver blanked the much-vaunted Oilers Power Play on 5 opportunities.

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Edmonton had a narrow edge in in play the First Period. But they frankly got smoked in the Second, with shots 17-4 for Vancouver. In the Third, the play evened out a bit, but the Oilers looked fatigued.

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The winner came off a combination of a fortunate bounce and a missed assignment with a mere 33 seconds left on the clock, spoiling a tremendous effort by Calvin Pickard.

Here is the tale of the tape…

CALVIN PICKARD. 8.

His first back-to-back start of the NHL season after an important effort in Game 4. Suter interfered with him, putting the Oilers on the man advantage early. Big right pad save off a Hronek shot. A glove save from a hard point shot, then a puck glanced off the crossbar seconds later. The 1-1 was off a giveaway right in front. Stared down a hard push by Vancouver in the Second and as nothing short of spectacular. Early save off Hughes. Big blocker stop off Petterson. Then, stuffed Miller on a power move to the net. Also handled tough volleys from Myers, De Giuseppe, Lindholm, a great toe stop off Miller (again) and closed the frame with a shoulder block on Petterson. The 2-2 was on the Bouchard turnover. Third Period stop on Miller yet again. Just got his skate over in time to prevent a wraparound by Garland. Victim of a bad bounce and a missed assignment on the 3-2. The best Oilers tonight by quite a bit.

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CONNOR McDAVID. 4.

Ticked the crossbar early on the Power Play and had a shot on the same shift. Drew a Second Period trip but he and his mates again failed to convert, making the PP 0-5 over 2. Spin-o-Rama attempt in the Third. Lost his man on what (in fairness) was a fortuitous bounce in front for the 3-2. -2.

RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS. 4.

Missed a glorious opportunity right from the slot in the early going. Funneled a pass over to Hyman whose attempted pass across ricocheted on net. A fine steal on the PK.

ZACH HYMAN. 4.

Whistled for a hold that you could feel coming after three consecutive Oilers PP’s. A dangerous wrist shot to end the first period. Not as effective as we are used to seeing. -2.

EVAN BOUCHARD. 4.

Hammered a one-timer on the second power play but it hit a leg in front. Carried the puck right in front of his net while under pressure from two Canucks and turned it over for the 2-2. -2. Led the club in TOI at 25:44. High Dangers 2-4, and o-fer on the PP.

MATTIAS EKHOLM. 4.

Pumped a hard one-timer off a Draisaitl feed. Rare shot on this night in a Second Period PP. High Dangers 5v5 0-3. The line change in the final minute may have been a quiet culprit on the 3-2 goal.

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LEON DRAISAITL. 5.

Extended his playoff point streak to 10 games with a terrific dish to Kane on the 1-0. A fine feed to Holloway for a chance. Good backcheck. Threaded a pass to an activating Ekholm who hammered a cannon on net. Blocked shot early in the second. -2. A tough night on the draw (38%).

DYLAN HOLLOWAY. 6.

Effective. And one of a handful of Oilers who looked like they had energy. No assist, but the zone entry on the 1-0 sequence. Fine first period backcheck. A nice tip off a Draisaitl pass. Then an excellent blocked shot. And a drawn Interference call. Managed a shot late in the second. Another shot block in the Third.

EVANDER KANE. 6.

Received the pass from Draisaitl and whistled it home 5-hole for the 1-0. Second period slash. 2 shots and a hit.

DARNELL NURSE. 6.

The Oilers best D-man on an otherwise tough night for their defenders. A fine hustle back to negate a developing Miller rush. Big blocked shot to open the Third. Could not stop the pass across on the 3-2. But in his defence, the pass came from over by the wall and it took a luck bounce in front to create the chance. High Dangers 5-1 5v5.

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VINCENT DESHARNAIS. 6.

The pass high to low to Draisaitl on the 1-0 goal. Fished a puck right off the goal line with one hand and swept it away to safety. Had lost his stick on the 1-1 goal and retrieved it instead of fronting the shot. The flow of play was in huis favor 5v5, 19-10 66% CF, and High Dangers 6-0.

RYAN McLEOD. 5.

A decent performance from him tonight. 5v5v CF of 17-10, 63%. Set up Ryan for a point-black chance late in the Second.

WARREN FOEGELE. 5.

Called for interference in the second frame. A good intercept on the PK. Drew (to be fair) a pretty dubious charging call. Moved his feet well and enjoyed a positive result in terms of flow of play.

COREY PERRY. 3.

Turned 39 today and hard to say he did not look it at times. His attempted backhand was intercepted and turned immediately into the 1-1. Had a chance in the Third but could not covert.

BRETT KULAK. 5.

A desperate play in his own end created the turnover on the 2-1 goal. A well-earned assist on the play. Took a Third Period trip but probably saved a goal in the process, net-side.

CODY CECI. 4.

Third Period shot block. Crushed on shot shares. He and Kulak were challenged against a withering Canucks forecheck on this night.

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DEREK RYAN. 6.

An effective pick on the 2-1 goal. Fine play at his own blueline on the PK. An excellent intercept and clear on the PK. Could not drain a fine setup from Mcleod late in the Second. Important D-zone faceoff win on the PK in the Third.

MATTIAS JANMARK. 6.

Charged hard to the net and slapped home a perfect pass from Brown for the 2-1 :27 after the Canucks had knotted it at 1. The Third line was industrious and hard on pucks.

CONNOR BROWN. 6.

Early shot on net. Picked up a loose puck off the Kulak play and then dished a perfect pass to the hard-charging Janmark for the 2-1. Part of an effective Fourth line.

The loss drops Edmonton to 2-3 in the series. Game 6 is back in Edmonton Saturday at 6pm local time.

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, and X @KurtLeavins. AI was not used in the composition of this article.

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