On a Sunday night in Los Angeles, Edmonton Oilers found that checking a team committed to a body scan wasn’t a great strategy.
After being humiliated in two straight games, the Los Angeles Kings came out with fiery eyes, scoring twice in their first game and winning 4-0.
Often oilers did not hit, but rather reached with their sticks. Skate the Otters they didn’t skate. They didn’t stop and start, looped.
In total, the first-class shots totaled 11 for the Oilers, 12 for the Kings, with a subset of the most dangerous 5 alarm shots, six for Los Angeles, and six for Edmonton (running count).
Conor MacDavid, 4. Only two major contributions to the first-class shots of the two oilers. Charging the ice at first, he sent a horizontal dart to the nurse, who dropped him on the net. But McDaid was late and sluggish on the outside shot in LA’s second goal, then calmed down until he fired a penalty midway through the second. He was tied with a few others to lead the team in four strokes.
Evander Kane, 8. Great toy, the only oiler to have one. Five shots to lead the team and five major contributions to first-class shots, including some of Edmonton’s most dangerous chances. He got a pass by Duncan Keith and attacked in a hard shot per second, then gave Matt Roy an old face wash, a rare sign of life from the Oilers to that point in the game. He then charged the ice hard, passed the disc to himself from the boards, and then fired a pass like a chain of diamonds to Yamamoto in the slot, but Yamo failed to grab the pot of gold, hitting Kwik’s shoulder with his shot. A second later, Kane almost scored in a rebound. He was beaten on a pinch on the third goal Los Angeles.
Jesse Poliojarvi, 4. He made a bad pinch, forgetting he was covering for Barry, resulting in a 2 on 1 vs. per second. Not much has been accomplished.
Leon Drystel 3. Not just for a dry night. He made a huge contribution to only one first-class game, but a lot of mistakes. He was on the wrong side of his check and part of the Edmonton Gang of Three (he, Bouchard, and Keith) that defeated the planks in a pain sequence on First Target Los Angeles. He struggled to deliver plays against more aggressive penalty kicks in Los Angeles. He allowed Kopetar to make a superb pass into the second slot but for the second time in the match Mata missed with a wide open shot. Drey finally got rid of the hangman’s intimidating shot early in the third inning, but crashed into the side of the net. When he finally hit RNH with diagonal arrows early in the third playing period, Nuge couldn’t score. Five wins and 14 losses in confrontations. Not just for a dry night.
Kailer Yamamoto, 6. Active game. He hit McD-Kane’s line in a second and on the spot got a bad shot from a slot, then Kane set up a 5 second alarm, but woe to the Oilers, neither of them could quickly overcome.
Zach Heyman, 4. Part of the line that did not happen. Cheek “Mata” lost in a failed second-half break opportunity for the Los Angeles d-man. He jammed a powerful shot into the net early in the third, then hit it quickly, which is a solid idea.
Zach Kassian, 4. He came close to breaking up early, failing to deke Quick. Didn’t bring enough nasty.
Ryan McLeod 4. He checked the reach stick/hook and got a kick in the second part, which is part of the overall ganza check or tool. He made a powerful pass in Barry’s third shot of the half.
Warren Vogel, 3. He needs to do more. He picked up a loose puck disc to send Xian into a breakup early in the first period. A moment later he and Kassian made an epic, ill-advised streak change that thrashed out Maatta, with Maatta losing the net.
Derek Brassard, 3. Bring a little. He was caught in the red-light district – neither covering anyone nor blocking a lane – on a desperate crease a split second early.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 6. He made a good pass with a good backhand to set up Kulak for his 5 alarm slot late, late in the first. He went really hard on Mickey Anderson in Bustle, which I loved. But she was otherwise quiet. At least he gave up a bit on defense.
Josh Archibald, 4. There isn’t much to say about it being a very quiet game.
Duncan Keith, 3. He, Drystel and Bouchard exhausted Los Angeles’ first goal. He was responsible for that most terrifying version of all of The California (a relatively harmless outside shot goes in, the kind of goal scored repeatedly against the Oilers by powerful California teams during the Decade of Darkness-plus), skipping Troy Stitcher’s shot in Last Smith in Los Angeles.
Evan Bouchard 4. He lost the battle of slots early in the start of the sequence that culminated in a lizette-based hit. He was the main culprit in L.A.’s first goal, missing a rebounding puck that smashed into Danault (who passed to Moore). He didn’t do much in the attack.
Nurse Darnell, 6. A higher event game, but a lot of good here. He seemed more confident in this game and played more physical hockey. He was hit on ice and wide by Kimbe early in the bull rush. He’s got a great shot of his own from McD stock. It almost recorded a second after the disc went off the grid on McD’s skate. Karl Grundstrom fouled hard on the net, hitting Smith and forcing the ball in, a fine goal according to the referees and the National Hockey League. Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft defied the call, with his team leading 3-0 with five minutes remaining, to no avail. Did Grundstrom launch himself on the net? Or was the locking of the leg by the nurse causing the problem? I think it was on the nurse more than Grundstrom.
Cody Sissi, 7. The best oil man in this game. He led the team that played at 23:12 and had four hits and four saves. He did a great job blocking Brendan Lemieux from a loose puck in the Edmonton crease early in the second, even kicking the ball toward Smith, saving a goal in his own net. He also pursued Lizzott aggressively late in the game, then slammed Kinglet’s annoying body, for a full score of one notch on his mark.
Tyson Barry, 4. He ran into some problems early on, which allowed for some good shots on the net. He lost a fight at the point that led to Danault’s short-handed breakup. He got a first-class hard shot in the third, which increased the difficulty of Colak’s screen flash.
Brit Air, 4. He was thwarted by Quick Quick in a golden opportunity three seconds left, an important moment in the match. Some serious mistakes in first-class shots against her.
Mike Smith, 7. He got stuck there during a tough game, with a total of 46 shots. He faced 20 shots in that miserable first half 2-0. He was saved by the post off early with a lacy shot from Blake Liszot, then Mata missed the net completely. His first big stop on the Kempe hard disk came towards Grid. He was defeated by a bluffing pass on Los Angeles’ first goal. He was defeated by Keith’s party in the second goal. Great fend off the reductive Danault detachment, but he wasn’t able to stop the human torpedo of Grundstrom’s body on the third Los Angeles target, imagine that.
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