Player grades: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl power Edmonton Oilers by Ottawa Senators 6-2


Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) battles Ottawa Senators’ Erik Brannstrom (26)Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) battles Ottawa Senators’ Erik Brannstrom (26) Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postmedia

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The Edmonton Oilers again dominated the Ottawa Senators, something facilitated this time by the team’s new power line of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto.

They excelled all game, both on the power play and in all three zones even strength.

It was a strong game all around for Edmonton, as they again choked the life out of the Ottawa attack.

Edmonton was ahead on the scoreboard and also on Grade A chances, with 15 to four for the Sens (running count).

Connor McDavid, 8. He looked so sharp, as if he had a full tank, a heavy foot and a huge engine. He scored a weird one to open the game, a sharp angle shot that bounced and zipped into the Ottawa net. He got his second point on a feed to Barrie in the high slot. The third point came on a beautiful feed to Draisaitl.

Leon Draisaitl, 8. Classic Draisaitl snipe on Edmonton’s third goal. He was driving hard all game, in both directions. He played his part in the sequence of pain leading to the first Ottawa goal, failing to contain or check Thomas Chabot as he charged up the ice. He almost made up for it a moment later on the power play, steamrolling up the ice, beating every Ottawa player and getting a 5-alarm breakaway backhand shot on net. He made a hard backcheck in the second to rein in Nick Paul on what could have been a two-on-one.


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Kailer Yamamoto, 8. He’s the glue player on this line, but he’s Krazy Glue. Combined well with Draisaitl and McDavid and also some solid play covering for the Superstars Two in the defensive slot. He likely saved a goal late in the second by pouncing on and accosting Josh Norris, who got a big, fat and juicy pass in the  low slot. Had a couple wicked shots on two-on-one breaks in the third.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 5. He got a point on a hustle play leading to the Ennis’s insurance goal. He and Khaira allowed the cross-seam pass that ended with Brady Tkachuk’s goal.

Jesse Puljujarvi, 7. Almost scored off a Caleb Jones feed early in the second, but at least made the Ottawa goalie Joey Daccord come up with a great save. Extra point for executing a nasty reverse check on Brady Tkachuk late in the second. He charged in hard and gave used the big butt on Erik Gudbranson on the forecheck, starting the virtuous cycling leading to Tyler Ennis’ goal.

Tyler Ennis, 6. He got pulled out of position and allowed for an Artem Zub shot early in the third, but not great damage was done. He was Tyler-on-the-spot

Jujhar Khaira, 7. His best run of play with the Oilers. He came out moving his feet, bossing the play, looking like an ace shut-down third line centre, just like he has looked in most of his recent games. His mid-slot screen was a big reason for Edmonton’s third goal. He led the team with five hits.

Devin Shore, 6. I like him on the wing. He showed some skill in the second period, pulling a spin-o-rama, then making a quick stop before firing off a Grade B chance shot. He also made a solid back check to help deny Ottawa sniper Dadonov.


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Patrick Russell, 4. Quiet game, which isn’t what you necessarily want from a forward. From a d-man? Yes. But not a forward.

Gaetan Haas, 7.  Great goal, some justice for all the hard work he’s done this year. Skated hard and fast all game, did his job.

James Neal, 5. Not much to report but did have two Grade A chances as he was his opportunistic self around the net.

Alex Chiasson, 6. He made an uncustomary mental error on Ottawa’s first goal, a slow line change. He made up for it by holding the stick of Ottawa defender Erik Gudbranson on Draisaitl’s power play goal.

Tyson Barrie, 7. He was left exposed by others somewhat on the first Ottawa goal, as a bad line change allowed Chabot to charge up the ice, before putting the puck in off of Barrie’s skate. He, too, made up for his mistake, rifling a wrister from the high slot for Edmonton’s second goal.

Darnell Nurse, 8. He was a battle-winning machine all game.  I liked his hard take-out of Auston Watson after the Ottawa forward got a bit aggressive around Mike Smith. He ripped a shot on net to score a second period goal.

Adam Larsson, 6. Quiet game, which is good for a d-man.

William Lagesson, 7. Wild Bill manufactured a Grade A scoring chance for himself with a fast rush, toe drag and hard push to the net. He thwarted Dadonov by boxing him out on a crease play early in the third.

Caleb Jones, 6. He made a dream cross seam feed to Jesse Puljujarvi early in the second. He and Bear (who was illegally picked on the play) got caught out on a Nick Paul break in the second but Smith made the save.

Ethan Bear, 6. His inexplicable late line change was the major factor in Ottawa’s first goal, and I had to dock him a full mark for that. But he played a smart, steady game other than that. He looks like he’s finally back to his 2019-20 form.

Mike Smith, 6. He did not have a lot to do in the first two periods, but did thwart Paul’s breakaway chance.


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