Resilient Edmonton Oilers storm back for a comeback, 4-3 win in Vancouver: Player Grades

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Jordie Benn (8) defends Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) in the first period at Rogers Arena on Feb. 23, 2021. Photo by Bob Frid /USA TODAY Sports

Article content

The Edmonton Oilers spotted Vancouver a 3-0, 1st Period lead on Tuesday night.

But then they stormed all the way back, scoring 4 unanswered goals against the Canucks on the way to a 4-3 road win for Edmonton.

Mike Smith couldn’t have started the game much worse, but battled back hard and stopped the puck when it mattered the most

Here’s the tale of the tape…

Edmonton Oilers Game Grades

MIKE SMITH. 6. Allowed a super softie to sift through him from a bad angle on the 1-0, on the 1st shot of the game. Had little chance on the 2-0 blast, a deflected shot from the top of the circle. The 3rd was a scramble in front. If not for a point-blank stop on Boeser late in the 1st it may have been 4-0. Instead, they headed to the locker room down just 3-1. But then Smith stopped 22 of 22 the rest of the way. Stopped Bo Horvat twice on a 2nd Period PP. A game-saving stop off Roussel after both Barrie and McDavid had goofed on their way up the ice late in their 2nd Period PP. That was a momentum changer. Then for good measure, Smith stoned Bo Horvat with a strong glove save after a Barrie turnover in the 3rd.

Advertisement

Story continues below

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

Article content

CONNOR McDAVID. 7. After a quiet first Connor McDavid really came out flying in the 2nd but wasn’t rewarded for his efforts. Sent in alone by Puljujarvi but was denied 5-hole. Then rattled one hard off the crossbar after a smart reversal in the attacking zone to turn a puck over. It took a video review to prove that shot actually stayed out. Finally found net in the 3rd on the Power Play on slick goal mouth pass by Draisaitl to tie it at 3. Nearly took the lead with yet another post before the eventual winner. 53% in the circle. 2 shots, -1.

RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS. 6. A nifty 1st period strip in the O-zone. 2 back-to-back chances in the 2nd, on set-up’s from Puljujarvi and McDavid. Then rang one loudly off the post after Jones has sent him into the attacking zone. Part of the series on the 3-3. A couple shots in over 23 minutes of work. a clean sheet in 1:47 of PK time.

JESSE PULJUJARVI. 6. Played an imposing game with his size on display. Registered 5 hits. A good 1st Period chance went wide. Sweet pass to spring 97 early in the 2nd. Has 3 shots of his own. Unlucky to finish the night -1.

DARNELL NURSE. 7. Defended well all night long, heady plays without the puck and smart, safe plays with it. Had a touch on the 3-3. Just one hit, which is rare for him. Played 25:25.

TYSON BARRIE. 6. I’m not docking Barrie for any role on the 1-0, as he had angled his man almost to the goal line. His shot on a quick feed by Draisaitl created a rebound that Kahun leapt on to draw the game to 3-1. And in fact, it was Barrie’s initial point blast that felled a Canucks forward and gave the Oiler an edge within the zone. A strong stuff on Boesser in the 3rd. Then a shift later, he turned over a puck to Bo Horvat, but Smith bailed him out. A few adventures with the puck tonight, which made things a bit more interesting than you’d like.

Advertisement

Story continues below

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

Article content

LEON DRAISAITL. 8. Named the game’s 1st Star with 3 points, all assists. Leon Draisaitl fed Bouchard for a point shot that Kahun nearly tipped home. Lost both the faceoff and his man on the 3-0. Redeemed himself somewhat with a sharp pass from behind the goal line to Barrie, whose rebound squibbed over to Kahun for the 3-1. A 2nd Period steal. Leon couldn’t cash on a 2nd period 3-way play with Barrie & Kahun. Then he hit a post a couple shifts later. Draisaitl also whiffed on a set-up by McDavid late in the 2nd. His smart pass fed Kahun for the 3-2. Found bis buddy Connor on the Power play to tie it at 3. Won a final minute of the game draw in his own zone to protect the lead. Had already played 16:38 over 2 Periods, finished at 22:58. Looks like the rest did him a world of good. Powerhouse performance.

DOMINIK KAHUN. 8. Dominic Kahun’s best game as an Edmonton Oiler. A great chance a few minutes before the 3-1 with a deft tip in front off a Bouchard shot. Then collected Barrie’s rebound and squirted it home to give the Oilers a late period goal. Early in the 3rd, Kahun was a part of a tic-tac-toe with Draisaitl and Yamamoto and then drained a follow-up pass by Leon to net the 3-2, his 4th on the season. Was late to his man on the net mouth scramble that resulted in the 3-0. Then finished the night by winning a clutch D-zone faceoff after Draisaitl had been booted out of the circle. Those are the little things that win games.

KAILER YAMAMOTO. 6. A defensive zone turnover in the 1st led to a Canucks chance. Net-front on the 3-1. Hard-working clear on the 2nd Period PK. Drew a late game Power Play. An assist on the 3-2, 2 shots, 2 blocks.

Advertisement

Story continues below

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

Article content

KRIS RUSSELL. 6. A 1st Period block, one of 3 on the night for Kris Russell. Double-teamed in front on the 3-0. Thumped young Patterson to the ice with a hard 2nd Period hit. Was part of the sequence that led to the game winner. An over-all effective 19:44 on the evening.

ADAM LARSSON. 8. Larsson’s point shot created the scramble in front when Ennis was able to deflect the winner home. Early, hard hit on J.T. Miller. 1st Period shot block. Part of the scramble in front on the Canucks 3-0. Another important block on a 2nd Period PK. 3 hits, 8 shot blocks. 3:07 on the PK. In a good groove.

JUJHAR KHAIRA. 6. Played a big man’s game, 7 hits and a ton of heavy work along the walls. Jujhar was the centerman on the 2-0, although to my eye he’d fought that faceoff to a draw. Clear on a 2nd period PK. 54% on draws.

JOSH ARCHIBALD. 5. A hard-working 13:15, a perfect 2:13 on the PK, 4 hits.

TYLER ENNIS. 7. Tyler Ennis scored the game winning goal after his hard-fore check led to a turnover. The puck came back to the point when Larsson fired it toward the net, ping-ponging off Khaira and then Ennis’s skate and in. Accidentally tipped a hard shot from the top of the circle past Smith for the 2-0. 2nd Period high-sticking minor. Just missed an open corner after a 3rd period point shot by Bouchard.

EVAN BOUCHARD. 6. Just missed glove side from a behind-the-net feed from McDavid in the 1st. Had his point shot neatly tipped by Kahun but Demko got a hold of it. A good zone clear part-way through the 1st. A sprawling 3rd Period shot block that likely saved a goal. Ended up with 4 shots on goal in 12:05 and was really good with the puck. Defended well. EV CF of 16-6, 73%. Hard to take him out of the lineup.

Advertisement

Story continues below

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

Article content

CALEB JONES. 5. When this young man stays within himself, he’s an NHL player. And he did just that tonight. A nice head man pass sprung Nugent-Hopkins who rung iron in the 2nd. A shot, a hit. Solid, after a long layoff.

GAETAN HAAS. 5. Set up Patrick Russell for a 2nd Period opportunity. Good back battel won that led to a clear on the PK. 2 shots and a hit. 2 take-aways. Schooled on the dot (22%).

ALEX CHIASSON. 6. A “B” chance on a set-up from Patrick Russell in the 2nd. Then earned an assist on the 3-3 with a short by smart pass to Leon who slipped it over to McDavid. Played a strong game along the wall and down low.

PATRICK RUSSELL. 5. A 3rd Period play exemplifies why Russell earns his shots. Dove flat on his stomach to knock down a puck in his own zone which Kris Russell eventually cleared out of danger. Later missed a chance for his 1st NHL goal after a set-up by Haas.

The victory draws the Oilers 4 points out of 1st Place in the North.

Next up? A rematch with the Canucks Thursday.

Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

Recently, at The Cult…

McCURDY: Caleb Jones get an opportunity to draw back in

STAPLES: Shots fired in McDavid-Matthews comparison

McCURDY: Cult of Hockey Player Grades Games 11-20

LEAVINS: Patience in Puljujarvi paying off

Comments

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