This season, the Edmonton Oilers are off to a miserable start, one win and four losses.
This game, the Oilers got off to a strong start and 2-0 lead, but failed to drain several breakaway chances to extend the lead. Then they failed to hold that lead.
Winnipeg fought back with a power play goal, then a rancid mistake by Stuart Skinner trying to play the puck late in the second, losing it, and seeing it plunked into Edmonton’s net to tie the game.
Teams do not often overcome that kind of gaffe.
And the Oilers did not.
They fought hard in a tight-checking game, especially as Connor McDavid went out with injury, but lost in OT as Leon Draisaitl lost his check, Mark Scheifele, who scored the 3-2 winner.
In total, Edmonton had 11 Grade A shots (which go in on average 25 per cent of the time) while the Jets had 12, with a subset of 5-alarm shots (which go in 33 per cent on average), three for Edmonton, six for the Jets (running count).
Connor McDavid, 7. Two assists and an injury scare. He sat out the end of the third and O
T. McD came out in the first hustling like a desperate player and his line dominated. Found Nurse in the high slot with a nifty backhand pass on Edmonton’s first goal. He followed up with a d-zone slot stop, then ripped a nifty horizontal pass to Drai, part of the sequence of Bouchard’s goal. Some uncharacteristic and iffy puck-handling on the Edmonton power plays in the second. He came out buzzing again in the third. He missed a few shifts, perhaps with injury, late in the third. Grade A shots: ES (even strength) +2, -0: ST (special teams), +1, -1.
Leon Draisaitl, 5. Also two assists. He made a quick stop and spin at the blueline on his first shift, then passed to McDavid, part of the Virtuous Cycle of the puck leading to Nurse’s goal. He slid a pass to Bouchard to harpoon into the net for Edmonton’s second goal. He took an ill-advised holding penalty in the first. He charged in for a Grade A shot in the second, but was a part of a disjointed Oilers PP that same period. He lost Scheifele in OT, the crucial mistake on the winning goal against, and a full two grade deduction for Drai on the play. Grade A shots: ES +3, -2: ST, +1, -0.
Zach Hyman, 8. He made two crucial passes on the first goal, then charged the net, opening up ice for Nurse’s goal. He followed up by stealing a puck and jamming it on net. He charged in for a late first period breakaway but could not beat Hellebuyck. He made a mad and dangerous rush in the last minute of the third but could not get the puck on net. A moment later he almost scored, jamming RNH’s rebound on net from in tight. Huge block in OT, then rushed up ice to set up RNH for a Grade A shot. Grade A shots: ES +6, -0: ST, +0, -0.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 7. His line came out first and manufactured three quick shots on net. He made a swell stretch pass to send in Foegele on a first period breakaway. Solid stop on the PK, picking off a slot pass in the second and rushing it out. He next backchecked hard to help thwart a short-handed attack by the Jets late in the second. His line was going hard again in the third. His late wrister was almost cashed in by Hyman on the rebound. He directed Hyman’s pass in OT on net and almost scored. Grade A shots: ES +5, -0: ST, +0, -0.
Mattias Janmark, 5. He followed up on Foegele’s first period breakaway with a rebound shot. Took a few penalties in the second. Smart backcheck to take away a backdoor shot early in the third. His break-in attempt was thwarted by a swift Hellebuyck pokecheck in the third.Grade A shots: ES +2, -0: ST, +0, -0.
Warren Foegele, 7. He helped manufacture but failed to drain a first period breakaway. He had a heavy collision with big Adam Lowry. His strong backcheck and pas sent in RNH and Janmark for a third period Grade A shot. Grade A shots: ES +3, -0: ST, +0, -0.
Ryan McLeod, 4. He tipped the puck off the boards on the PK into the Edmonton slot, leading to a wicked Nicolaj Ehlers blast. Some defensive miscues late in the game, including overtime. Grade A shots: ES +0, -2: ST, +0, -1.
Evander Kane, 4. Hmm. He’s hitting and fighting, but not executing. A bit slow to the puck on Morrissey’s power play shot and goal in the first. He moved in hard and fast for a solid wrap-around chance early in the second, then made a nifty board play to McDavid, who set up a Ryan slot shot. He took off his helmet to battle Brenden Dillon in a fight and landed a few nasty punches. A third period turnover on the boards almost led to a goal against. Pulverized Nate Schmidt with a hit late in the third. But got beat by Kyle Connor down the wing in OT on a wicked Jets shot. Grade A shots: ES +1, -2: ST, +0, -1.
Connor Brown, 4. He showed excellent hustle harassing the annoying Pionk on a first period puck retrieval by the Jets d-man. Grade A shots: ES +0, -1: ST, +0, -0.
Derek Ryan, 6. In heavy traffic, failed to drain a Grade A shot off a McD pass. Otherwise a solid game. Grade A shots: ES +1, -0: ST, +0, -1.
Dylan Holloway, 5. Once again threw his body into a nasty shot on the PK to block a shot. Grade A shots: ES +0, -1: ST, +0, -1.
Darnell Nurse, 7. Solid game but he was part of the hideous Sequence of Pain of Winnipeg’s second goal. He moved into the high slot, took a pass from McD then slammed it top shelf where Momma keeps the cookies. Perfect shot. He won a board battle, kicking off Foegele’s breakaway sequence in the first. He was bit slow coming back to the puck and made the wrong decision in puck pursuit on Winnipeg’s short-handed goal late in the second, quite the stinker play. Grade A shots: ES +3, -0: ST, +0, -3.
Cody Ceci, 6. Quiet game, keeping a clean sheet at even strength, not one major miscue on a Grade A shot against. He put a Total Eclipse of the Sun screen on Skinner while also failing to block Josh Morrisey’s shot for Winnipeg’s first goal. Redeemed himself a second later, breaking up a dangerous Jets rush. Grade A shots: ES +0, -0: ST, +0, -1.
Mattias Ekholm, 5. Swell poke check to stop a Winnipeg slot rush in the second. Allowed a dangerous pass into the slot to Scheifele in OT. He allowed the outsideshot in OT on the winner. Grade A shots: ES +0, -1: ST, +0, -0.
Evan Bouchard, 6. He hammered home his beloved bomb on the power play for Edmonton’s second goal. He lofted a sailing long bomb of a stretch pass to Hyman to send him in on a breakaway. He got beat on a short-handed rush for a Grade A shot in the second. A few iffy defensive moments in OT. Grade A shots: ES +1, -2: ST, +1, -1.
Brett Kulak, 7. He made a brainy slap pass off the endboards that almost brought an Oilers goal early in the second. Executed a loooong stretch to send in Hyman or a Drai Grade A shot in the second. He failed to get an explosive and open slapper on net in the third. Grade A shots: ES +1, -0: ST, +0, -0.
Vincent Desharnais, 5. Quite game through three periods. Grade A shots: ES +0, -0: ST, +0, -0.
Philip Broberg, 5. Solid pinch to kick off sequence leading to Ryan’s early second period Grade A shot. A moment later got slashed so lost a puck battle in the slot, all of it leading to a Rasmus Kupari breakaway, but Skinner saved the moment. Grade A shots: ES +2, -1: ST, +0, -0.
Stuart Skinner, 4. In many ways he was strong, but his one bad play sunk the Oilers. Not much action in the first and not much chance on Winnipeg’s first goal, due to Ceci’s screen. Stupendous, sprawling blocker breakaway stop on Kupari early in the second. Came up huge a moment later, smothering Ehlers’ PP harpoon. He made a poor decision to play the puck, lost the race and caused Winnipeg’s second goal, a major and ugly mistake. Good stop through traffic half-way through the third. He dove to stop Ehlers in the third, but the Jets forward also fanned on his shot. Came up big early in OT on Scheifele, then on Connor, then on Lowry in OT. No chance on the winner.
STAPLES ON POLITICS
Trudeau pulls off the impossible, raising from the dead the possibility of an Alberta Pension Plan
At the Cult of Hockey
McCURDY: Kane’s play has become a major concern
STAPLES: Player grades from poor performance in Philly
STAPLES: You’ll never guess the Oil’s top winger in 2023