Avalanche 4, oilers 2
Edmonton Oilers gave their due Saturday night, but again it wasn’t enough to cash in on the Colorado Avalanche.
It was a match with ups and downs, even before the first minute was up let alone the whole 60. The whistle of the first match signaled the Oilers goal. Second, a big penalty. From there, a back-and-forth affair with the avalanche eventually gained the upper hand and slipped away with a 4-2 win.
The avalanche had a huge advantage on the shot clock for the third game in a row, this time 43-29 against a cumulative 130-90 through 3 games. Through our number in hockey cultthe Avs held an advantage of 17-11 in A-grade shots and a 10-5 bulge in the best of these, five-alert chances.
#2 Duncan Keith, 5. He lost a bit at sea in Avs’ second goal but wasn’t the main cause of the play, although it was due to his neglect in a clean possession that led to him facing Zone D in the first place. Otherwise somewhat quiet. Played 19:33 including 4:27 on PK. 0 shot attempts.
#5 Cody Sisi, 5. Steady Eddy was hit in a first-class single shot against him. He had a great look of his own outside of the RNH feed but his ruthless wrist shot just missed the post on the short side. 18:28 including 4:19 on PK.
#6 Chris Russell, 6. He came in as the seventh defender and did what he normally does in a solid 10 minutes, 4 more of them in PK. 4 hits, 2 dead ends.
#10 Derek Ryan, 5. The best he did was sell him to stay ahead of McLeod’s dash which became 2-2. He had an assist for an early pass in play. Also cut at 3:39 on the death penalty. 0 attempts to pay off, 2 gifts, and 3/12 = 25% on point.
#13 Jesse Poliojarvi, 5. He played a powerful sixth-rounder in the middle, engaging in first-class shots while leaving nothing in the other direction. His detour attempt created a dangerous recovery opportunity for Foegele, who was almost distracted.
#18 Zach Heyman, 7. He put in a great run along the wall to win first the discus, then a pass to McDavid who finished the play just 38 seconds. Other than that, it was a normal hard-working night with 5 shot attempts, 3 of which are on goal, 4 hits and a throw away. I played 19:40 in all including 6 and a half minutes in special teams.
#22 Tyson Barry, 6. His association with the kulak had the puck disc moving north most of the time. His best moment was a blast in the third period with the double screen of Polligarvy and Hyman that Pavel Francoz somehow got a piece of. Logan O’Connor smoked with a gentle stroke. 7 shooting attempts, 2 hits, 1 takeaway, 1 block.
#24 Brad Malone, 5. A surprise addition was brought to the squad due to his physical play and penalty kicks. He made both 4 hits and 3:17 on the kill, nearly half of his total time on the ice being 6:40. He picked up 12 minutes in penalty kicks in trash time for a legitimate penalty kick and what appeared to be somewhat false misconduct.
#25 Nurse Darnell, 4. By far his best performance in a very challenging series. He led d-corps with a 21:28 TOI including 5:42 on PK, while his eight hits were three times more than any other player at either club. But his game will be remembered most by a special goal that tied the score 1-1 late in the first game, as Nurse attempted to cut through the hole pass only to get past a struggling Smith and into the short side post. A penalty kick was also awarded for a careless pass.
#27 Brett Colak, 7. Statistically, AOIL’s top 7 defensemen post Boxcars 0-1-1, +1, 6 shot attempts, 4 hits, 1 takeaway, 1 block and strong possession metrics. It included 15:34 of the 4:24 icy time in PK. Make a strong bid for a contract extension here in his hometown of Edmonton.
#29 Leon Drysittel, 5. He continues to fight through physical issues that were not helped by the aforementioned incident involving Nathan McKinnon. Jay Woodcroft named it after a large number of feet; Although I don’t see any involvement of the feet, what’s happening on the top of McKinnon’s leg and hands is less clear. Judge for yourself. He did the reference and did not see any violation. The result was that Draisaitl lame down the tunnel for a while and definitely became less effective after that. He pulled off a penalty shootout in Colorado, which wasn’t a feat on the night, but he also earned one of his penalties. Shots on the net including a good shot after a great lunge, but he wasn’t able to make much of a pass. 12/24 = 50% on point. Played 24:29.
#37 Warren Vogel, 5. It provided 9 minutes of hard grinding, with 1 shot (serious), 3 hits.
#41 Mike Smith, 6. Very challenging game in grading. See plenty of rubber and tackle most of it with a variety of Gumby-esque saves, sometimes even standing on its head (see: photo feature above). An unlucky boy in his first two goals in Colorado, the first of which veered off the nurse’s wand. It leaked inside his short position despite Smith doing his best to close the hole after first committing to an icy cross. The second bounced off McDavid’s skate and scored right out of the box, Valeri Nichushkin, who was able to float the change in the face of the grain and bypass the goalkeeper. The winner of the game, on the other hand, was a shot that had to be stopped and instead found the five hole right along the ice. Made a great Nichushkin robbery blocker at 2-on-1 after a minute, but by then the damage had been done. To his credit, he was by far the biggest reason PK went 5 for 5, turning away all 16 shots he faced in the 11-and-a-half minutes that the Oilers were cut short. Perhaps his best save out of these sixteen was an emergency recovery, in two-panel style, after his poor handling of the disc. 42 shots, 39 saves, 929 saves.
#44 Zach Cassian, 5. He got paid to McDavid’s streak, with whom he played 6 of his 9 minutes of the night. Almost one house in the first. But he was one of the defensive offenders at 2-1 when he lost a fight inside the Edmonton area after a losing encounter. 2 shots, 5 hits.
#71 Ryan McLeod, 8. A fantastic two-way effort earned him 17 minutes of ice time including 5:21 in PK to lead all attackers. He had a great chance of a brilliant dash early in the second as Francos stole him; Seconds later, he got into the Foegele Jam. Oilers briefly gave hope when he scored 2-2 in another rink-length dash in the third, although in fact his shot could have been stopped from outside the home board. Rewarded with some 6v5 icy time down the sprawl. 3 shots on the net with a fluid control of the flow of play during his minutes.
#75 Evan Bouchard, 4. He was a target dunked far from being the champ, only to be spotted in reverse seconds on what became the winning goal. Bouchard took a bad angle toward the disc and once JT Compher beat him, veteran Av had a clear path to the net. He was also hit with a 2-1 goal when he couldn’t fit Nichushkin into the hole, checking his own goalkeeper in the process. Partial detachment by rantanin was allowed after misuse within the o-zone. Some good moments too including 4 shots on the net.
#91 Evander Kane, 3. He put his team in a big hole when he whistled for a penalty kick for 5 minutes for the aforementioned infraction against Nazim Qadri in the first minute of the match. It’s hard not to agree to this call given the video evidence; I thought he was lucky to stay in the match (Kadri didn’t) and doubt he might not be available for the next match. 2 shots, 4 hits, but boxcars of 0-0-0, 5 PIM, -3 tell the story of a tough night.
#93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 5. The Oilers dominated shooting attempts to 17-6 in over 12 minutes at 5v5. Only one shot himself, losing two fights at crucial moments, notably to the non-stick Mikko Rantanen in the last minute of the game who liquidated the Colorado final. He got a light penalty for holding a MacKinnon stick.
#97 Conor McDavid, 6. The game started off great with a great goal after just 38 seconds, but that was for production. He was on the ice in all 4 Avs goals, and while his most significant involvement was a spot of bad luck when the puck veered off his sled and through the hole straight into the goal scorer, that’s after losing first in a Zone D showdown. He nearly put Oilers ahead in the third inning when he jumped on Barry’s skewed shot, but Francos outlasted him with a superb gloved grip. Oilers led with 26:47 on ice time and 4 shots on target, but in the second game in a row he struggled to find the open ice.
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