Player grades: The Connor and Leon Show revs up as Edmonton Oilers beat Vancouver Canucks

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The Edmonton Oilers got down one goal against the Vancouver Canucks but the game never seemed in doubt, the only question being when Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl would finally rev up.

They did and the game was soon out of reach for Vancouver, with Edmonton winning 4-1.

In total Edmonton had 11 scoring chances, while the Cancuks had just five (running count).

Connor McDavid, 8.  He had a relatively quiet first two periods until his extended and retaliatory hit, elbow and crosscheck on J.T. Miller. Don’t wake the Dragon! McD got going and quickly made two fine feeds to Draisaitl for two fine goals, 93 points in 51 games. Coach Dave Tippett kept 97’s minutes under 20:00.

Leon Draisaitl, 8. Had his slow boots on in the first and muffed on a slot clearance leading to two 5-alarm chances for the Canucks. He got going in the second, came close to scoring once or twice, then set up Barrie for a hard shot. Finally, with five minutes left in that same frame, he slammed in a one-time feed from McD. A moment later, he scored again, this time crushing a power play one timer.


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Jesse Puljujarvi, 6. Some good hustle plays but no major results.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 7. His line was a three-man wrecking machine early on but could not score. He helped engineer five gorgeous multi-player passing plays in the first and second but linemates Dominik Kahun (twice) and Kailer Yamamoto (three times) could not cash in. The last of these chances saw the virtuous cycle begin with n RNH bodycheck, as fierce as it was rare. He got a dangerous power play shot of his own in the third.

Dominik Kahun, 7. He was thwarted by Thatcher Demko on a 5-alarm shot in the first, then a bit later on a one-timer off an RNH feed. But combined well with RNH and Yamo.

Kaile Yamamoto, 7. He came out flying. Helped set up Kahun’s first period chance but failed to score on his own two early Grade A snipes. Where have his hands gone? He missed the net completely on one partial breakaway.

Kyle Turris, 4. Quiet game, low event, and you want a bit more from a forward.

Tyle Ennis, 5. He tried a lacrosse move and almost tucked it in the top corner in the first. Some nifty puck play but no major results.

Ryan McLeod, 5. He was part of the general chaos in front of the Vancouver net on Bouchard’s second period goal. Not much to mention other than that.

Jujhar Khaira, 6. He looked sharper this game. He went hard to the net for a first period Grade A chance. He charged hard against on a second period wrap around attempt.

Alex Chiasson, 7. He ripped an outside slapper off the post in the first, part of a strong period for him. His battle won in the third period kicked-started the play on Edmonton’s fourth goal.


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Josh Archibald, 6. He worked hard, as usual, and let the team with three hits. He made a sweet back pass to Nurse on Edmonton’s fourth goal.

Tyson Barrie, 5. Yet again he made an ill-advised pinch. Yet again it led to a two-on-one, with Nils Hoglander and Brock Boeser combining on a goal. He crept into the slot and got off a dangerous shot off a Draisaitl feed in the second.

Darnell Nurse, 7. He failed to stop the Hoglander to Boeser pass on Vancouver’s first goal, but that was mainly on Barrie’s bad pinch.  Backed in too fast and permitted a hard Bo Horvat wrister in the second. He made a strong screen on Bouchard’s second period goal. He pounded in Edmonton’s fourth goal on a wicked two-on-one wrist shot. It was his 16th goal of the year. He made up for his first period gaffe by breaking up a Vancouver three-on-one with a sliding block late in the third. He played his usual 27:56.

Adam Larsson, 6. He got nasty in the third, taking a couple of penalties for his rough play. But kept a clean sheet on defence, not one major mistake on a Grade A chance against.

Dmitry Kulikov, 6. A few bobbles of the puck in the first period led to extended Canucks zone time. Otherwise was solid.

Evan Bouchard, 7. He showed his class with numerous strong passes and a goal. He made a beauty backhand feed to Yamamoto in the first, but a Vancouver d-man blocked Yamo’s open net shot. He made another sweet pass in the second, a stretch to McDavid at centre ice. He whipped in an outside shot late in the second, recognizing a screened slot and taking advantage of it. He got promoted to the power play and penalty kill in the third. His one big failure was letting loose Jimmy Vesey for a third period inner slot shot off the post in garbage time. He played 20:13.

William Lagesson, 6. Some good passes and hits. He got a cross-checking penalty in the second, absolute proof that NHL refs do indeed still penalize crosschecking.

Mike Smith, 7. Had not much chance on Van’s first goal, but came up big later in the first, making two huge saves off a Draisaitl slot turnover. Those were the saves he had to make for the win and he made them.


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