Player grades: McDavid and Skinner take turns as heroes in Edmonton Oilers OT win over Dallas Stars

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The Edmonton Oilers beat the Dallas Stars at their own game of solid defence, hard checking and great goaltending to for a 3-2 win.

In the second OT, Connor McDavid tipped home the winner of a great feed from Evan Bouchard.

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In total, Edmonton has 15 Grade A shots, Dallas 18, with 5-alarm shots six for Edmonton, eight for Dallas.

Cult of Hockey game grades player grades

Connor McDavid, 10. He looked fast, played great, and there’s plenty to talk about, particularly from McD in OT. He made a spin move on his first shift, looking plenty healthy in the moment. His slick move — passing it to himself off the back of the net  then putting it out front — kicked off Edmonton’s first scoring play on the series. He took the puck hard to the net midway in the third, almost scoring. He was given a deserved four-minute minor penalty early in OT, but how did Matt Duchene not also get a penalty, as he was holding/hooking McDavid and in working free, McD clipped Duchene. He set up Ekholm for a Grade A backhand when he got out, then sent in Hyman for a 2-on-1 wrister. He deked out Oettinger when Hyman set him up alone, but failed to beat the goalie. Then came his OT game winner, standing alone in front of the net to tap home Bouchard’s centering pass.

#97 Contributions to Grade A Shots (GAS): Even Strength: +8/-0; Special Teams +1/-0.

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Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 7. Part of another excellent Oilers PK effort. He made a great backcheck in OT on Logan Stankhoven. He made a great pass to kick off the McDavid 5-alarm sequence late in the first OT. All members of the Oilers PK get a bonus of two full game grades tonight for killing off 10 minutes of PK time. He won a board battle to kick off the Virtuous Cycle in OT for Edmonton’s winning goal.

#93 GAS: ES +12-2; ST +0/-0

Zach Hyman, 8. Dangerous all game. He made a slick move to set up McDavid in the slot early on, but the shot was blocked. He was part of the Virtuous Cycle on the Draisaitl goal early in the second. His hard screen in the third almost caused a Bouchard shot to go in. He got a slot wrister in OT but could not drain it. He set up McDavid in OT for what looked like the winning goal, but no such luck.

#18 GAS: ES +5/-1; ST +0/-0

Leon Draisaitl, 7. Quiet in the first but exploded onto a loose puck in the slot, harpooning it into the net early in the second. He came back hard to break-up a 2-on-1 rush. But he was the primary culprit — puck-watching instead of covering the danger man — as Seguin took a slot pass for two 5-alarm shots late in the second. Tough night on the dot, eight wins, 21 losses.

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#29 GAS: ES +3/-3; ST +1/-0

Evander Kane, 7. The Apex Predator is back. He knocked over Miro Heiskanen early in the game, always a good thing, then belted him again a moment later, but got his elbow up for a penalty. He came out next shift to clobber Chris Tanev. Blew up Harley with a hard and low hit in the second, then smacked Tanev again in the third. He whipped a slot shot on net off the faceoff early in OT.

#91 GAS: ES +3/-2; ST +0/-0

Dylan Holloway, 6. Got the job done. He came out flying but got a cheap call against him for a marginal hook on Benn late in the first. He broke in on a breakaway with three minutes left, made a great move, but could not drain it.

#55 GAS: ES +2/-1; ST +0/-0

Ryan McLeod, 6. He got a Grade A shot off a Desharnais rebound in the second. Not much on the attack but part of a huge 2:54 minute PK effort. Get this — he tied with Kane for the team lead in hits with five.

#71 GAS: ES +1/-1; ST +0/-1

Derek Ryan, 7. The heart and soul of the Oil PK. Another great 3:18 short-handed effort, quiet at even strength, but that’s OK for a checker. He won numerous crucial PK faceoffs.

#10 GAS: ES +1/-0; ST +0/-1

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Warren Foegele, 7. He won a breakaway off Heiskanen but blew the shift, losing the puck as he made his deke on Oettinger. Good work on the PK led to him setting up McLeod for a high slot shot. 2:30 on the PK.

#37 GAS: ES +1/-0; ST +0/-0

Sam Carrick, 6. Sold effort. He won a faceoff, then snapped a backhand shot Grade A on net off a Ceci outside shot early in the third.

#39 GAS: ES +1/-0; ST +0/-0

Mattias Janmark, 7. Bringing his own Viking intensity in all game situations. 3:23 on the PK.

#13 GAS: ES +1/-2; ST +0/-0

Connor Brown, 7. He got stronger as the game went on. Some good work on the forecheck, including one late third period shift where he hustled up ice to steal the puck. He made a desperate and successful backcheck in OT to thwart a dangerous Stars rush, then made a solid d-zone clearance to end a long, tough shift for the fourth line. 3:13 on the PK.

#28 GAS: ES +0/-1; ST +0/-0

Mattias Ekholm, 9. He keeps churning out the great games. I might go so far as to say he and Bouchard were drinking the Stars’ milkshake in this game. He got taken down hard in the offensive slot early on but not injured. He plowed a one-timer off the bar in the second. He zapped a nasty slot backhander on net in OT. Gets that PK bonus for his excellent work. He played a team high 31:48.

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#14 GAS: ES +6/-1; ST +0/-1

Evan Bouchard, 9. The Maestro. He orchestrated the play like Andrea Pirlo with the ball at his feet and the pitch before him, excellent pass after pass. He was also got tagged with a marginal penalty for a slash into the shin pads. He made some nifty offensive moves, then set up Ekholm cross-seam for a harpoon off the bar. He won a board battle and make a sharp pass into the slot on McD’s winning goal, winning praise from Kevin Bieksa of Sportsnet. “Most defenceman that pinch down that wall would just smash that puck at the net. It takes a very elite offensive minded d-man to make that pass to McDavid.” To top it all off, Bouchard kept a clean sheet at even strength, not one major mistake on a Grade A shot against.

Do you think he’s won over all the haters yet? Just maybe.

#02 GAS: ES +6/-0; ST +0/-0

Darnell Nurse, 5. Some good, but one ugly moment. He almost deflected in a puck late in the second. Got off a high, hard slot shot early in the third. But he was puck-watching and wandering in the Red Light Zone — not covering a man or the pass — and deflected the pass over to Seguin on the game-tying goal. He was solid otherwise, but that almost cost the Oil. Another strong PK effort, tho.

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#25 GAS: ES +0/-2; ST +0/-2

Vincent Desharnais, 6. A few issues moving the puck. He lost Seguin on the game-tying goal, though that was mainly on Nurse. Excellent work on the PK.

#73 GAS: ES +1/-3; ST +0/-1

Brett Kulak, 7. After Ceci let in Dadonov for a breakaway two minutes into the game, Kulak was co-culprit on the follow up 5-alarm rebound shot by Benn. In the second, his outside shot got blocked but Draisaitl scored on the rebound. But the breaks of the game are fickle and a moment later Kulak whiffed on the puck in his own zone, allowing Benn and Seguin in to score.

#27 GAS: ES +2/-4; ST +0/-0

Cody Ceci, 6. Let Dadonov get behind him on an early breakaway, a break-out play that Oilers did not seem to be expecting. He made a few solid pinches.

#05 GAS: ES +1/-4; ST +0/-0

Stuart Skinner, 9. That’s more like it. A killer performance. Massive first period as Edmonton had no Grade A shots, Dallas four. Huge stops on Dadonov and Benn. A few shifts later squelched Seguin in front of the net on a Stars power play, then thwarted Seguin again on a dangerous slot shot late in the first. Thwarted Robertson’s low-high pass-to-harpoon shot early in the second, then another massive save off Marchment’s slotter. He finally got beat by Benn and Seguin’s break-in. Two saves on wide-open Seguin late in the second. No fault on the tying goal. A couple big saves in the first OT, as well as smartly cutting out a dangerous pass.

At the Cult of Hockey

McCURDY: Stars and Oilers take different paths to reach same destination

STAPLES: 80 per cent of analysts pick Stats over Oilers

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