Cult of Hockey Player Grades: The Edmonton Oilers blow a lead against the Jets, and a chance to claw back to .500

Edmonton Oilers right wing Zack Kassian (44) get set to shoot on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) in the second period at Bell MTS Place on Jan. 26, 2021. Photo by James Carey Lauder /USA TODAY Sports

Article content

The Edmonton Oilers blew a 3-1 lead, Tuesday, allowing the Jets to score four straight goals in the third period on their way to a 6-4 Winnipeg win.

That Jets run included three markers in just 3:27. Ouch.

The Oilers power play found the range again, scoring on its first two opportunities (with Darnell Nurse on the point versus Tyson Barrie), but the PK gave both of those two right back again.

Defensive zone coverage was the big culprit in this one, with enough mistakes to get a little on most everyone. Hard to fault the goalie much. Mikko Koskinen was pretty much hung out to dry.

Here’s the tale of the tape.

Edmonton Oilers Game Grades

MIKKO KOSKINEN. 5. Mikko Koskinen made a big, early save off Forbort. Looked like he got a small piece of the Scheifele 3-on-1 opportunity early in the second (and got help from the post as well). Koskinen also picked up an assist on the 1-0. Five goals on 33 shots, not one of them was a softie. This one wasn’t on him.


Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

CONNOR McDAVID. 6. Connor McDavid set up Nugent-Hopkins on the 3-1 goal with a sublime pass. But let his check slip away from him on the 5-3 goal against. Then scored a marvelous goal to draw the game back to within one, as he beat Scheifele badly and then went bar-down for the 5-4. McDavid was not as dominant as we’re used to seeing in ‘just’ 18:33 of ice, as his line was not run hard over the first 40. But he was far from the problem.

RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS. 6. Nugent-Hopkins allowed his man wriggle free to tie the game at 1-1 on the first Winnipeg power play. Then rifled home the 3-1 power-play goal with a high wrister off a feed from McDavid. A wonderful series on the 2nd period PK, with first a puck lug that burned valuable seconds off the clock and finished late in the shift with a good stick. Three shots. One of the better Oilers.

JESSE PULJUJARVI. 5. Puljujarvi couldn’t stuff home a ridiculous behind-the-net, behind-his-back pass from Connor McDavid in the 1st. Moved down to the 3rd line one shift, not really a function of his play but rather a strong performance by Zack Kassian. His battle in front helped create a fuss on the 5-4. Three shots, holding minor, 15:51 TOI.

DARNELL NURSE. 5. Darnell Nurse was quite good over the first two periods. But I wonder if over-work led to the problems we saw later? Was victimized by the Jets power play for the 1-1 after going off for a slash. It was his man that scored the 4-3, and then he was also in photo on the 5-3. Yes, he had three assists, but he was also -3. Played a gargantuan 29:01, which is too much. Is this where we say the Oilers miss Oscar Klefbom?


Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

ETHAN BEAR. 6. Just terrific stuff on Ehlers followed by an important clear. Another zone clear as he helped kill off the Kassian penalty. Bear was great over the first two periods. A hit and two blocks, one a real burner off his foot. Wasn’t primarily at fault for any of the three goals he was on the ice for over 23:47 of work. But he also wasn’t as sharp as the Jets pressed later on in the 3rd.

LEON DRAISAITL. 7. Leon Draisaitl was the Oilers’ best player over 60 minutes. Scored a goal on the Power Play where he paused at Center ice and then stomped on the gas, blowing past the opposition up the left-hand side and pool-cued the puck through the wickets for the 1-0. Also earned an assist, was a screen on the 5-4 goal, had three take-aways to lead the team, and went 67% on the dot including two wins late in the 2nd on the PK while pinned deep in his own zone.

DOMENIK KAHUN. 4. Dominik Kahun couldn’t convert on a pass from Draisaitl later in the 2nd, then a carbon copy of that early in the 3rd with the same result. A late 3rd period turnover led to a great chance by Wheeler, but Koskinen was equal to that task. Also had a takeaway. Played … fine, but a little too quiet for too many games now while playing alongside the reigning NHL MVP.

KAILER YAMAMOTO. 5. The first night this season where I thought he was “just o.k.”. Kailer Yamamoto was late to his man on the 3-2. One of his few offensive wins tonight was a decent set-up for Nugent-Hopkins in the 2nd.  Has just one shot, zero hits, -1.


Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

KRIS RUSSELL. 4. Kris Russell couldn’t stop the pass on the 3-2. Was a part (but not the primarily culprit) of the confusion on the 3-3. And his pinch led to a 3-on-1 early in the 2nd. But Russell had a strong enough game 5v5 (14-9, 61%), added a shot and a hit in 16:55.

TYSON BARRIE. 3. After an inadvisable pinch, Barrie got turned right around trying to pick up his man on the subsequent Winnipeg rush, and then ended up getting his wires cross with Kris Russell on the same play leading to the 3-3. And there were other moments that just ended better but looked just as dicey. Had just one shot in 14 minutes of work, none of it on the PP. And if he’s not doing that, then…

KYLE TURRIS. 2. An awful night. Over-committed on the 3-2 goal even though he had position on his man. Ended the night at -3, which can’t happen when you’re a third-line centre. He’s now -8 for the season. Just 4-13 on face-offs. Did draw the penalty that led to the 3-1 power-play goal and had two very good short-handed chances late in the 3rd. But on the other side of the puck…woof.

JAMES NEAL. 4. Did win a D-zone draw when Turris had been kicked out of the circle. Hit the side of a wide-open net after a great rush by Kassian. I thought he battled hard along the boards and used a strong stick several times to clear pucks out of the zone. A shot and two hits.

ZACK KASSIAN. 6. Had his fast boots on tonight and was promoted to the top line because of it. Could not convert a nice setup by Draisaitl on a break early in the 2nd. Whistled for a late 2nd-period hook that was one of the poorest calls I’ve seen in a while. But for all of that good work, it was a lost puck battle in the defensive corner that allowed the Jets to take the puck to the net where Darnell Nurse’s man stuffed home the 4-3. Was set free by Draisaitl again later in the 3rd but couldn’t push this one home, either.


Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

CALEB JONES. 4. His night started o.k. with Caleb Jones staying within himself, a nice retrieval and outlet pass in the 1st among some nice early moments. But a poor read in the 2nd led to a Jets off-man rush. Then he over-played his man in the 3rd right at the blue line, leading to another 2-on-1. Did have three blocks. But hard to say he was an improvement over Slater Koekkoek.

ADAM LARSSON. 5. Adam Larsson had an early give-away which had me wondering what kind of a night it was going to be for him. But he settled in and was o.k. in 20:45 after that. Put the club ahead 2-1 with a sharp wrister from the point. A late 1st period block. Then his slashing call led to the 3-2 PP goal. Decent bounce-back, finishing Even in a 6-4 loss.

JUJHAR KHAIRA. 3. A 1st period take-away. Partially at-fault on the 3-3. Throttled 5v5 and was a miserable 18% on FOs. Keeps getting opportunities. keeps doing this with them,

JOSH ARCHIBALD. 4. His four hits led the squad. But nothing heading the other way.

PATRICK RUSSELL. 5. Beat not one or two but three Jets deep in Winnipeg’s end then set up Adam Larsson for the 2-1 with a nice pass from behind the goal line. His line was caved but when you read his chart, you understand not much of it was on him. Has probably earned another game.


Up next…two against the Leafs starting Thursday at Rogers Place.

Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

Recently, at The Cult…

McCURDY: Lineup changes head of the re-match against the Jets

STAPLES: Mysteries of the Edmonton Oilers

LEAVINS: Oilers need to defend better by defending less


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Latest articles

Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here