Player grades: Edmonton Oilers roll to 5-1 win, force Game 7 in Vancouver

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Canucks 1, Oilers 5

One game after Vancouver Canucks played their best game of the series, Edmonton Oilers did the same on their own home ice to live on for at least another day. Facing elimination, the Oilers played a strong defensive game in front of Stu Skinner and provided plenty of goal support along the way, solving Arturs Silovs 5 times on the night. The game was closer than the 5-1 final suggested, but make no mistake that Edmonton was the better club and deserved the result.

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The Oilers minded their defensive P’s and Q’s for the most part, limiting the visitors to just 15 shots on net compared to 27 the other way. Grade A shots recorded by the Cult of Hockey were a little closer, 11-9 for Edmonton, with Vancouver holding a 4-2 edge in 5-alarm shots.

For a second straight game both teams failed to connect on the powerplay, with each unable to convert nearly a full minute with a 2-man advantage. Edmonton’s regulars on their PK unit all get a bump in their grade for this game.

Player grades

Cult of Hockey game grades player grades#2 Evan Bouchard, 8.

Led the team with 22:25 TOI. Had a bit of a slow start, just a smidge off on his passes while mistiming a couple of one-timers. Came on strong as the game went along, earning a point in each period. Earned a pair of secondary assists on good outlet passes, and scored himself with a bomb from 59 feet that overpowered Silovs, then rang the post on its way to the net. Had another (correctly) disallowed due to contact with the goaltender. His boxcars of 1-2-3, +4 would have done Feist proud. Now up to 5-13-18, +10 through 11 playoff games. Contributions to Grade A Shots (GAS): Even Strength: +2/-1; Special Teams +1/-0.

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KK comment#5 Cody Ceci, 6.

Second among defenders with 20:40 TOI. Rock solid defensively, both at even strength and on the powerplay, with Vancouver mustering just 3 shots in total during that period-plus. 3 shots, 3 hits, and a lot of won battles. GAS: ES +1/-0; ST 0.

Oilers#10 Derek Ryan, 6.

Kept things clean as the Canucks msutered just 1 shot and 0 Grade A’s during his 9 minutes at evens. Also chipped in on the PK, though he served a couple of nervous minutes in the box himself late in the second. GAS: ES +0/-0; ST 0.

#13 Mattias Janmark, 6.

As with Ryan, sawed off nearly 9 minutes at even strength, and provided 2:38 of fine penalty killing. Oilers were not generating shots on his watch, nonetheless the puck was spending plenty of time in good places far from Edmonton’s net. Continued his running feud with J.T. Miller, resulting in each player spending a couple minutes in the box. GAS: ES +0/-0; ST 0.

#14 Mattias Ekholm, 6.

Played just 15:24, least of any defender, including none at all in the game’s final 11 minutes. I watched his last shifts for signs of injury but all seemed normal other than he changed up a bit early (and not for the first time). With the Oilers holding a comfortable lead down the stretch and their 34-year-old d-man reportedly dealing with an illness there was no reason to keep running him out there. He did participate in the end-of-game celly. 0 shots, 2 hits, and an impressive +3. His biggest contribution was 5:02 on the first unit penalty kill including all 56 seconds of that 3v5. GAS: ES +2/-1; ST 0.

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#18 Zach Hyman, 7.

Played 20:55, fired 4 shots on net. Most important was the delayed-release slot shot that he powered through Silovs to put Edmonton up 2-1 midway in the second, and which stood up as the game winner. His league-leding 10th of the playoffs. GAS: ES +4/-0; ST 0.

#25 Darnell Nurse, 6.

Played an active and effective game. 4 shots, 2 blocks, 3 hits. Among those beaten on the lone Vancouver goal. Put out a few fires and logged a team-high 29 shifts, though just 19:21 TOI. GAS: ES +1/-2; ST 0.

#27 Brett Kulak, 6.

Played 17:55, all but 6 seconds of it at even strength. Vancouver attempted quite a few shots during his time but only 4 of them got through to the netminder. Kept things simple on a largely effective pair with Ceci. GAS: ES +0/-1; ST 0.

#28 Connor Brown, 6.

The only Oiler below 10 minutes, though close at 9:47. Not much happened on his watch, none of it bad. GAS: +0/-0; ST 0.

Oilers#29 Leon Draisaitl, 8.

Took an early interference penalty for no good reason, but got his considerable game going thereafter. Fine head-man pass to Holloway for the first goal. Cleanly won faceoff on the fifth. In the process reached the 100-point milestone in just his 60th career playoff game, third fastest all-time behind only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Had several shooting opportunities but couldn’t find the range. Excellent defensively: Oilers dominated the shot clock 11-1 during his 13 minutes at 5v5. GAS: ES +4/-0; ST 0.

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Drai tweet#37 Warren Foegele, 6.

Sawed off at even strength, giving up practically nothing. Like many Oilers, gets a bonus grade for his fine work on the PK. GAS: ES +2/-0; ST 0.

#39 Sam Carrick, 5.

Drew into the line-up in place of Corey Perry and delivered 10½ uncompromising minutes, delivering 6 hits in the process. Drew a penalty with a hard forecheck. A team best 7/12=58% on the faceoff dot. GAS: ES +0/-2; ST 0.

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#55 Dylan Holloway, 8.

Electrified Rogers Place with a brilliant goal to open the scoring. Powered through Vancouver’s defence, sequentially beating Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Filip Hronek and Silovs before powering the puck home from close range. Was part of the big screen that blined Silovs on the 5-1. Oilers owned a 12-2 shot advantage during his 12 minutes at 5v5. 3 shots off his own stick,  2 more blocks at the other end which is emerging as something of a specialty. GAS: ES +2/-0; ST 0.

#71 Ryan McLeod, 5.

Played a few ticks under 15 minutes. Mostly effective, though he did get turned inside out by Pettersson in the build-up to Vancouver’s lone goal. 1 shot, 3 hits, solid on the kill. GAS: ES +2/-2; ST 0.

#73 Vincent Desharnais, 6.

Led the Oilers with 5 hits and also with 5:21 on the penalty kill, where he was outstanding. He too was unable to contain Nils Hoglander’s 2 shots that produced the lone Vancouver goal. GAS: ES +0/-3; ST 0.

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#74 Stu Skinner, 8.

Got the crease back after a 2-game rest with zero room for error, and responded with an excellent performance. Didn’t face a lot of shots but quite a few dangerous ones. The best of his saves was a blocker stop of a seeing-eye wrister by Hughes during Vancouver’s 5-on-3 in the last minute of the second frame. Game changer. Saved 1.8 goals above expected. 15 shots, 14 saves, .933 save percentage.

#91 Evander Kane, 8.

All over it with 8 shot attempts, 4 on net, including a wicked drive through a multi-player screen to close out the scoring. Made a fine stretch pass to Draisaitl for an excellent chance. 7 hits to lead the Oilers. Went where angels fear to tread all night long, including a few more one-on-one battles with the gigantic Nikita Zadorov. GAS: ES +2/-0; ST 0.

#93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 9.

Touched the game in all areas, playing 21:04 to lead the forwards. Set up both second-period goals, then scored the 4-1 himself by going hard to the net and outworking big Carson Soucy to tap home McDavid’s pass. Outstanding on the penalty kill (3:34), including the entirety of that crucial 56-second 3v5. GAS: ES +3/-2; ST 0.

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Oilers#97 Connor McDavid, 8.

Bounced back from a subpar game in Vancouver, delivering primary assists on the second, third and fourth goals that basically put this one away. 2 shots, 2 hits, 2 takeaways. His one bad moment was a careless high-sticking penalty in the opening frame. His contact with Silovs negated an apparent Oilers goal, but it would never have gone in had not McD been marauding in the blue paint in the first place. GAS: ES +5/-1; ST 0.

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