Player grades: McDavid's brilliance leads Oilers to blowout win over Ducks

Article content

Ducks 2, Oilers 8

It took a few minutes for Edmonton Oilers to get their bearings back on Rogers Place ice on Sunday. Twice before the first TV timeout they fell a goal behind the Anaheim Ducks, who came to town riding a 5-game losing streak. But both times the Oilers produced an equalizer within minutes, forged ahead with a pair of unanswered goals in the back half of the first period, then outscored the overmatched visitors 2-0 in each of the final 2 periods to skate away with a convincing 8-2 win.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Article content

Connor McDavid was the offensive hero of the piece, earning first-star honours for the second straight game. He scored a key goal, produced 3 primary assists with a trio of brilliant passes, and added a secondary helper for good measure to complete a 5-point night. This on top of a 4-assist outing in Washington on Friday, and just like that the most prolific scorer of his generation is back near the top of his game.

The Oilers held a narrow 26-23 edge on the shot clock, but they had a large edge in the quality of those shots, with 69% of high danger chances and 73% of expected goals as per Natural Stat Trick. Our own counts at the Cult of Hockey had the Oilers well in front in Grade A shots 15-6 and 10-3 in 5 alarm chances, 71% and 77% respectively. And of course the big scoreboard confirmed they produced 8 of the game’s 10 goals, an impressive 80% share. This was a game decided more by big plays than flow of play.

Player grades

Cult of Hockey player grades

#2 Evan Bouchard, 6. A very quiet night statistically with just 1 shot attempt (which was blocked) in 23:36. Managed a secondary assist on Edmonton’s seventh goal to extend his point streak to 6 games. Make it 20 points in 20 games. More impressive on this night was Bouch’s “clean sheet” defensively, in which he didn’t leak any chances against. Contributions to Grade A Shots (GAS): Even Strength +1/-0; Special Teams +1/-0.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

#Cody Ceci, 5. Took a clearing shot right in the face early in the game and reportedly lost a couple of chiclets. Returned for the last 2 periods and held the fort. Played just 15:01. GAS: ES +0/-1; ST +0/-0.

#10 Derek Ryan, 5. Quietly effective, as is so often the case. Strong on the penalty kill, consistently got the puck to good spots. GAS: ES +0/-0; ST +0/-0.

#13 Mattias Janmark, 6. Grabbed the limelight in one extended possession in which he circled the Ducks net, bought the puck all the way to the top of the zone, circled the net a second time and very nearly jammed home the wraparound — a 1-man, 720° cycle. Played 12 minutes. GAS: ES +1/-0; ST +0/-0.

#14 Mattias Ekholm, 7. Made a pass early in the sequence on the 2-2. Nearly jammed one under Jonas Donstal from the edge of the crease that caused an extensive, but inconclusive, video review. Pounded home the game’s final marker on a powerplay one-timer. A rock behind his own blueline. GAS: ES +3/-0; ST +1/-0.

#18 Zach Hyman, 8. Earned a primary assist with a deft tip of Nurse’s stretch pass right to McDavid at the blueline who went in and potted the 2-2 goal. Later was the beneficiary of a pair of great passes the other way, burying one McDavid feed from a low angle, then taking another to break in alone and beat Donstal with a deke to the backhand side. Rang another drive off the post. Led all forwards in ice time with 19:10, and with 4 shots on net. GAS: ES +7/-1; ST +1/-0.

Advertisement 4

Article content

#21 Adam Erne, 6. He’s been quietly effective on the fourth line this last while, and finally found the scoreboard with the primary assist on Hamblin’s goal, a useful area pass in the neutral zone. 1 shot, 2 hits, 1 takeaway and 0 negative stats of any type in 11 minutes of work. Currently leads the Oilers in plus/minus with +2. GAS: ES +1/-0, ST +0/-0.

#25 Darnell Nurse, 8. Beaten by a good pass on Anaheim’s first goal, he came back to prove that two can play that game. Keyed both the tying and winning goals with a pair of excellent stretch passes that produced odd-man rushes. His quick-release pass off the boards sent McDavid, Hyman and RNH away 3-on-1 for the 2-2. Just 3 minutes later fired a long bomb to Nuge on what appeared to be a set play off a d-zone faceoff that sent #93 in alone for the snipe that put Edmonton ahead to stay. Closed out a 3-assist night by teeing up Ekholm for the final insult. Made a couple of excellent defensive stops, and was strong on the penalty kill. Led the team in ice time with 25:10, in shorthanded time at 2:30 and in blocked shots with 5 while firing 3 of his own to lead the d-corps. Took a penalty, later drew one when both of his skates got sequentially kicked out from under him. GAS: ES: +4/-2; ST +1/-0. 

Advertisement 5

Article content

#27 Brett Kulak, 4. Had a few issues in the first period, notably a turnover that led to the second Ducks goal. Battled through and settled down as the game went along. 17 minutes of ice time, 0 shots, 2 blocks, 2 hits including a hard one on Brock McGinn. GAS: ES +0/-3; ST +0/-0. 

#28 Connor Brown, 6. Finally found the scoresheet in his 14th game as an Oiler, earning the primary assist on Kanes 1-1 goal with a good slot pass. GAS: ES +1/-0, ST +0/-0.

#29 Leon Draisaitl, 7. Keyed the 1-1 with a quick pass on the zone entry. Pounded home his third powerplay goal in the last 2 games on his only shot of the game. Took a penalty but drew 2. Not his most dynamic game but he took care of business on the defensive side of the puck. GAS: ES +2/-0, ST +1/-0.

#37 Warren Foegele, 4. His typical industrious game but didn’t get a lot done. All 3 of his shot attempts missed the target. Wasted a 2-on-1 shorthanded chance with McLeod by not driving hard to the net and getting overtaken from behind. Made a bad turnover at the offensive blueline while teammates were making the (long) change behind him that led to a jailbreak the other way, but no damage done. Drew a penalty. 2 hits, 2 takeaways. GAS: +0/-1 ST +0/-0.

Advertisement 6

Article content

#57 James Hamblin, 6. Scored his second career goal and first at home when he took Erne’s pass in the neutral zone, broke in 1v1, had his initial shot blocked but pounced on the rebound and buried a quick hard shot in the short side before defender or goalie could recover. Safe defensively as usual. GAS: ES +1/-0, ST +0/-0.

#71 Ryan McLeod, 5. Had a tough first period, and an embarrassing one in which he stumbled and fell to the ice untouched no fewer than 4 times. Among those beaten on the 2-1 when he allowed a pass from the point to the goal scorer. Presumably he got his skates sharpened during the first Zamboni because he was flying around in his usual fashion thereafter. Contributed a nice goalie screen on Ekholm’s powerplay goal. Edmonton’s best on the dot with 8/12=67%. GAS: ES +0/-1, ST +1/-0.

#73 Vincent Desharnais, 6. Enjoyed his first career multi-point game when he earned a pair of secondary assists on the 4-2 and 5-2 tallies, making a good outlet feed to Erne on the latter Caught flat footed in allowing Max Jones’ slot shot on the 2-1 that somehow found a hole in Skinner. GAS: ES +1/-2, ST +0/-0.

Advertisement 7

Article content

#74 Stu Skinner, 6. Had a ragged start to the game, allowing 2 goals in the first 7 minutes and fighting the puck for a good deal longer than that, resulting in a few nervous moments for Oil fans. But once the Oilers forged their first lead he was solid the rest of the way, though hardly overworked. Helped himself with a couple of strong pokechecks. 23 shots, 21 saves, .913 save percentage.

#91 Evander Kane, 7. His weak backcheck was a major factor in the game’s first goal. To his credit he got it back within a minute, pounding a shot shot past Dostal. Oilers’ physical leader was credited with 10 (!) hits on a night the rest of his teammates combined for 13. GAS: ES +2/-1; ST +0/-0.

#93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 7. Buried the game-winner on his only shot of the night, hitting his favourite spot just inside the stick-side post on a clear-cut breakaway. Played a solid two-way game including some solid work on the penalty kill. His line with McDavid and Hyman were dominant, GAS: ES +2/-0; ST +0/-0.

#97 Connor McDavid, 10. Left his stamp all over this game with a goal and 4 assists. While he was to do most of his damage as a playmaker, he made the right decision to take the shot himself on a 3-on-1, burying it to tie it up at 2-2. Earned a secondary assist with a d-zone faceoff win that led directly to the Nurse-to-RNH breakaway goal. Burst into the slot before feeding Hyman at a low angle for the 4-2. Jumped on a loose puck in the neutral zone and instantly sent a perfect head-man feed to Hyman for a breakaway score. Added another primary assist with a splendid cross-slot pass that Draisaitl slammed home to put the game away. Involved in 5 other Grade A shots that didn’t cash, 10 in all of the 15 that his team generated on the night, all while allowing nothing the other way. GAS: ES +8/-0; ST +2/-0.

Recently at the Cult of Hockey

LEAVINS: 9 Things

STAPLES: Oilers best players put the boots to the Capitals

McCURDY: Exploring Ken Holland’s limited trade options

LEAVINS: The Edmonton Oilers get ‘Caned in Carolina

Article content