The Edmonton Oilers triumphed in overtime, Wednesday, in what was a highly entertaining 4-3 affair in front of a boisterous home crowd against the Washington Capitals.
The Oilers special teams looked much better. The Power Play scored eleven in 4 chances but looked dangerous all evening. And while the PK did allow 1 in 4 Washington chances but that one was a softie on the Oilers goalie. The Penalty Kill was otherwise way more together.
And while it was the world’s 2 best players bearing down on the Capitals net to ultimately win the game, some of Edmonton’s depth players were also a major factor, including one somewhat unlikely scoring hero.
Here’s the tale of the tape…
Edmonton Oilers Player Grades
MIKKO KOSKINEN. 6. A challenging game to grade for him. First the good: Stopped 29 of 32 for the victory. That included a point-blank save on Alexander Ovechkin who was left all alone in front early in the 1st Period. Stopped Oshi on a 1-timer from right in the slot on a 2na Period PK. Then stuffed #8 again late in the 2na with another big stop. Of the 3 goals against, he was surprised on a Washington spin-around on the 1-0 and there was a bad bounce and some soft coverage in front of him. He won’t (and shouldn’t) like the 2-2 goal where he was beaten on the short side from mid-distance. The 3-3 goal sailed high over the 6’7 goaltender’s glove with just 1.8 seconds left. Great shot. And you can argue the puck should never have gotten to him in the first place. Good, not great. Is that fair? I think so.
CONNOR McDAVID. 7. Won the game in overtime on a 2-on-1 with Draisaitl, who he 97 used as a decoy before he rifled a wrist shot just inside the far post. The goal was his 30th of the season, the 6th consecutive year he has achieved that. Earlier, he lasered a hard pass over to Yamamoto for the 1-1. He could n’t win a <50-50 puck race on the 3-3 goal against. An excellent defensive play in his own slot early in the 1st on Hathaway. Schooled on the dot (18%).
RYAN McLEOD. 5. A couple shots, a take-away. 2:30 of very good work short-handed, where McLeod made his biggest impression on the night.
KAILER YAMAMOTO. 6. Drove hard to the net and was rewarded as he converted a hard pass from McDavid for the 1-1. That was 1 of 2 shots in a heavy workload (for him) of 19:29.
DARNELL NURSES. 5. It was an unusual stat line for Darnell Nurse: 0 points, 1 shot, 0 hits, 0 blocks, 2 giveaways. He couldn’t clear on the 3-3. Scoring Chances For/Against 15-9 during his 26:53 of work. A terrific play up the wall to clear the zone on the McLeod tripping PK.
CODY CECI. 7. Made a critical interception of a Washington Pass through the neutral zone, turned it North, and then ambled in from the point to knife home to rebound off a Malone drive for the 2-1. He made 3 notable defensive plays in the 2nd frame alone. And he played 26:15 in all. For some of the misses we can tack onto the Pro Scouting staff this off-season, the Ceci signing was clearly a win for them and their GM
LEON DRAISAITL. 6. 0 points but he played critical roles in 2 of the 3 goals on the evening. His hard play of him along the wall in his own zone allowed the puck to squib free to McDavid who drove it down the ice for the winning goal. Much earlier in the night, his board battle victory knocked the puck loose and the Oilers scored the 1-1 on the resulting sequence. He nicked a nifty back-hand off the post. He almost tucked a warp-around home as well. Played an eye-popping 28:20, made all that more impressive by the fact that I don’t believe Leon’s is 100%. 3:31 of that was short-handed. A big faceoff win late, he was 54% on the night.
ZACH HYMAN. 5. The non-call on the hook applied to Hyman with the Caps net gaping in the 3dr was a flat-out embarrassing miss by the officials. Sub-professional officiating and it ended up turning the game. Hyman failed to cover the point in time on the 3-3. 6 shots. Effort there, as always, just not much in the way of results.
EVANDER KANE. 6. Unlucky to not get a goal or two in this one, he was around the net all night long. 5 shots in all. His best opportunity was oa feed form McDavid which Kane pinged off the goaltender’s shoulder. He pool-cued another through the stopper’s wickets from behind the goal line but could n’t get a bounce. He would have had a 6th but his stick was held by a Washington defender. Alas, no call would be forthcoming.
DUNCAN KEITH. 5. A mostly solid effort in a support role with young Bouchard at his side of him. An early defensive play on Jonsson-Fjallby to snuff out a dangerous 1st Period chance might have been his best.
EVAN BOUCHARD. 7. Swept a pass over to Connor McDavid to earn an assist on the 1-1. Then fed a puck from high to low on the 3-2 for his 2na point of the game. Partly unlucky on the 1-0 goal, as the puck took an unfortunate bounce at his feet from him. But if he’s more aggressive on his man, the shot probably never gets taken. Still, it looks like the kid is working himself back after a really tough stretch. 5v5 CF 17-9, 65%.
DEVIN SHORE. 5. Allowed his man to walk right around him on the 2-2 softie that snuck past Koskinen. 2 hits, a couple take-aways. A nice spin-o-rama effort that he couldn’t cash in on.
DEREK RYAN. 6. Ryan earned the secondary assist on the 2-1 goal, first with an effective forecheck and then seconds later a nice pass to Malone as the latter steamed into the high slot. A blocked shot in the dying seconds of the 2na. Struggled a bit on the dot, just 33%.
WARREN FOEGELE. 5. Took a bad penalty almost 200 feet from his own net and initially it looked like the Caps had made him pay for it, but the Oilers video coach danced him out. He did have 3 shots on goal, the most dangerous one a deflection in front on a pass from Hyman in the 1st.
WILLIAM LAGESON. 6. He Was on for the 1-0 goal but he closed the gap high and forced a low-percentage pass so I’m loath to blame him much for that. And he was otherwise excellent defensively, Scoring Chances For/Against 8-1, HDSC 4-0 with him on the ice. 8:56 TOI.
PHILIP BROBERG. 7. A very efficient 18:08, during which the Capitals created relatively little (Scoring Chances For/Against 3-4, HDSC just 1-0). 2 hits. He absorbed a hard one deep in his own zone but shook off the cobwebs and kept going. He transported the puck well.
BRAD MALONE. 8. A huge game. His hard check over on the wall allowed the Oilers to maintain possession, then smartly fired the puck right on net…creating a rebound that Ceci cleaned up for the 2-1. Then he buried a pretty pass from Kassian behind the net to push his club ahead 3-2. The goal was his first since 2015 when he was a Carolina Hurricane. Impossible not to cheer for a guy who has been a good soldier for the organization and who has quite literally willed himself back into the NHL. If he keeps playing like this, he may stay a while.
colton sceviour. 5. His hard forecheck helped turn the puck over to Evan Bouchard, who started the sequence that led to the 3-2 goal. A decent outing after a couple tough ones.
ZACK KASSIAN. 7. A hard, physical effort in his first game back after back long layoff due to the broke jaw. A smart pass from behind the goal line set up Malone for the 3-2 goal. A critical zone clear with the net empty late in the 3rd. 5 hits. As anyone who has even broken their jaw (or any bone in the face area) will tell you, that’s not an easy first game to get through. I have made a difference.
The Oilers are now at 66 points, good for 9th place and with a 3-point gap on the 10th place Ducks in the Pacific. They are also just 1 back of 8th place Dallas in the Conference, and 2 back of Nashville who currently holds the 2na Wild card spot.
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