The Edmonton Oilers eliminate the Senate(ors) in 7-1 blow-out: Player Grades

Connor McDavid (97) and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers.Connor McDavid (97) and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers. Photo by Bruce Bennett /Getty Images, file

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The Edmonton Oilers had been outscored 11-2 in 1st Periods over the 7 games leading into Wednesday’s action.

20 minutes later, it was 4-0 Edmonton and the Oilers didn’t stop there.

The 7-1 final flattered the Senators, and then some.

Here’s the tale of the tape.

Edmonton Oilers Game Grades

MIKE SMITH. 7. Mike Smith played as good or better than he needed to. Stopped 21 of 22, almost half of those in the final frame. He had a couple difficult saves, including a 2nd Period stop off Josh Norris and a toe save off Connor Brown in the 3rd. But the game was already over after the 1st Period and Smith had only faced 4 shots at that point. Handled the puck like a pro. Picked up an assist on the 3-0.

CONNOR McDAVID. 8. The Game’s 2nd star. A goal and 2 assists. The goal came on a wrist shot from the high slot to make it 4-0, after Draisaitl won a puck battle along the wall and fed McDavid a perfect pass. Connor’s assist on Leon’s hat trick was slick times 5, a back door back-hand that went through both McDavid’s legs and the defender that was tracking him, right onto Draisaitl’s stick. 4 shots. Ottawa had no answer for this duo who ran over the opposition like the Harlem Globetrotters.

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LEON DRAISAITL. 9. Dominant. A hat trick (the 4th of his career) plus 2 assists. The prettiest of the 3 was an end-to-end where Draisaitl picked up the puck at the top of his defending circle and proceeded to steam through the entire Ottawa squad including an out-classed Mike Reilly before feinting back-hand to fore-hand and then elevating the puck over Matt Murray. His 2nd was on a one-timer net-side off a slick pass by Nugent-Hopkins. The hatty came on a sick reverse feed by McDavid which Draisaitl drilled home 5-hole. 6 shots on net. 60% in the circle. The Game’s 1st star.

KAILER YAMAMOTO. 6. Didn’t put up the gaudy boxcars that his line-mates did but Yamamoto was effective all night. But on at least 2 occasions, over-passing cost him a better chance. Was the net-front presence and provided an effective screen on the 1-0. Served as a decoy on another. Set up McDavid for a 3rd Period chance. Set-up for a Grade “A” chance by Draisaitl but couldn’t finish.

DARNELL NURSE. 8. Darnell Nurse was excellent again tonight. 4 shot, 2 hits, 2 blocks. Scored the 1-0 on a seeing-eye dog shot from the point. Added an assist on the 4-0 with a nice play high to get the puck to Draisaitl on the wall. Twice as many chances for as against while he was on the ice. And most of those against were pretty mild. Nurse was partially responsible on the 7-1 goal as his man was able to make a pass across the slot.

TYSON BARRIE. 8. An offensive dynamo tonight. The Game’s 3rd star with 3 assists. Started the sequence on the 1-0. Started Draisaitl out on the D-zone with a short pass and then watched as Leon did the rest. 4 shots on goal. All Events CF 30-11, 73%. One of the few blemishes on his record was when Barrie’s man scored the 7-1 in front.

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RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS. 6. Sent a beautiful pass from the slot to the side of the net where Leon Draisaitl was camped for the 5-0. I thought that 2nd line had some good looks throughout the game and probably deserved better. But the pucks DO need to go in 5v5, for Tipper to feel comfortable leaving McDavid and Draisaitl together. Was good on draws, 67%.

TYLER ENNIS. 5. Spent a lot of time stopping, spinning and trying to create in the offensive zone. But like the other 2 guys on this line, he didn’t get a whole lot accomplished 5v5.

JESSE PULJUJARVI. 5. Puljujarvi didn’t register a point but consistently looked dangerous, in particular on a pair of power rushes deep into the Ottawa zone. Rang a nice Nugent-Hopkins set-up off the post.

WILLAIM LAGESSON. 6. A very quiet game, which was mostly a good thing. A shot and a hit in 19:20. Broke even on possession. His one mistake was a 3rd Period giveaway. But it was 6-0 at the time. +1. Solid.

ADAM LARSSON. 7. Adam Larsson played a gritty, nasty game and didn’t give an inch all evening. Only credited for 2 hits. Not sure what the official scorer was watching on that one. 4 blocked shots, including 2 in quick succession early in the 3rd Period with the game well out of reach…which says a lot about the player.

JUJHAR KHAIRA. 7. Didn’t miss on the can’t-miss setup by Devin Shore for his 3rd of the season. Led the team with 6 hits, 73% in the face-off circle. Excellent defensively. What a turnaround by this player since he was waived and banished to the taxi squad. Revitalised.

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PATRICK RUSSELL. 5. It feels like I’ve written this paragraph a half-dozen times in Russell’s NHL career: A smart, gritty game, never makes a mistake, a 3rd period zone clear. Back pressure helped create the turnover on the 2-0. Couldn’t cash on a one-timer from a set-up by Connor McDavid. Rinse. Repeat.

DEVIN SHORE. 7. Just a lovely assist, after Shore had created a turnover in the neutral zone. Shore entered the zone, faked out Matt Murray on a faux deke, and then fed a perfect back door pass that Jujhar Khaira drained. Excellent on defence with 3 take-aways and a minute of good work on the PK.

KRIS RUSSELL. 5. This pair spent too much of the night in chase mode, in a 7-1 game. Russell had 3 blocked shots, one them when the game was well out of reach. A key clear on the PK, lifted an Ottawa stick in front of Mike Smith that probably saved a goal.

ETHAN BEAR. 5. A quiet night. A couple effective pinches. A shot and a block (an excellent one that took a chunk out of him). Lost the possession battle quite properly, but in a game where score effects were a significant factor half-way through the 1st Period.

GAETAN HAAS. 5. Skated miles. Had 2 shots and hit a post. Won a faceoff deep in his zone on a PK, but over-all was just 36% in the circle as Dave Tippett rolled 4 lines much of the night.

ALEX CHIASSON. 6. An excellent defensive play turned over the puck, and bam…seconds later James Neal had it in the net for the 6-0. A number of smart, veteran plays along the wall to get pucks to safety.

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JAMES NEAL. 6. Scored on a wrist shot from the top of the circle after a gritty play by Alex Chiasson turned the puck over. 2 shots in 13:23 as this line held the balance of play while they were on the ice.

The victory draws the Oilers into 2nd place, and again…4 back of the 1st place Leafs. More critical, 8 points up on 5th place Vancouver.

Next up? The 3rd game in this Ottawa series Friday.

Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

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