The Edmonton Oilers were executing a dull but solid enough road game when disaster struck in the second half.
Goaltender Stuart Skinner fanned the puck on a clearance, gobbling up the wayward Devils and slamming it into the Edmonton net.
Teams rarely come back from this kind of disheartening misstep. Oil was no exception tonight.
The bad luck plays didn’t end with Doran Skinner. Dylan Holloway’s penalty kick was pushed to the oil bench as it slashed reserve goalkeeper Jack Campbell in the face. Campbell left the bench area.
In the end, New Jersey won 5 goals to 2, but the game was even closer than that. Overall, NJ has had eight Class A snaps, and the Oilers have had 13, with NJ having a subset of five putouts, and the Oilers with nine (see here).
Connor McDavid, 8. The Oilers’ best players by far in terms of execution and effort. He made a huge contribution with 11 first-class shots. He flew with speed and precision like a homing missile at Edmonton’s first target, manipulating sticks around various devils, then knife-wiping through the hole into Draisaitl. He won the pinch behind the net and then executed 15 quick fire moves to get into the high hole, before being hurled over the net to two quick rebounds with five saves by freshmen Janmark and Costin. He made something out of nothing early in the second, ducking down the wing for a dangerous opening, and then did it again a short time later. He also did some great work in the defensive slot early in the third period blocking a vicious shot.
Zach Heyman, 5. Crowded every game. Charging on the ice late in the first, he forced his way into the wide open deep hole but missed the net. Unfortunately, he blocked Ryan McLeod’s near-certain goal into the offensive crease in the third.
Matthias Janmark, 6. Much to like about his efforts. He checked the goaltender, then went down a dangerous hole late in the first.
Leon Drystel 5. Put the puck hard in the New Jersey slot as it swerved first in Edmonton. He slowly turned as NJ went on offense, leading to a single rush and NJ’s third goal, with his check Damon Severson putting him out of the slot. He got the killer executioner’s shot on electric play twice but failed to connect. He redeemed himself a bit for his bad streak change by helping set up the RNH goal.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 5. An essential part of playing sharp oil power in the beginning, it’s the key to the game. It can be said that he is slow to respond to New Jersey’s third goal. But his puck popped early in the third period and he hit it home to make the Oil a one-goal. A moment later, Dry made a great pass to send him to a wrestler with five bookings. He led the team with seven shots.
Warren Voegele, 4. Noisy but without much effect.
Clem Costin, 5. He earned his first penalty by overplaying, which is the 16th time in 19 games this year (according to Jack Michaels) that Oil has earned the first penalty. Janmark’s rebound almost scored late in the first.
Ryan McLeod, 4. Not much was done against his brother’s team, except for one blast in the third when his puck bounced into the hole and he got two shots from 5 cautions, neither of which went in, the latter being blocked by Hyman.
Jesse Polyjjarvi, 6. Won a fight against New Jersey on Edmonton’s first goal. And beat Oil Blueline in New Jersey’s third goal. He did some excellent work on the RNH goal, winning the puck onto the boards, then going aggressively into the net to mask the goalkeeper.
Derek Ryan, III. He turned and beat the pass for New Jersey’s first goal, a key moment in the game.
Dylan Holloway, 4. He has little ice time.
Darnell Nurse, 3. Not his best game. I gave up too many holes to my liking on the first NJ target. He turned the ball over on offense on New Jersey’s fourth goal. He led the Oil with four blocked shots.
Cody Sissy, 5. Fight hard, as always. He was one of the culprits in Niger’s third goal, allowing the opening shot. He put the puck into the net on third down, low and hard, with RNH slamming in on the rebound.
Evan Bouchard 4. Quiet game. Not much good or bad. But not much good.
Brit Air, 4. As with Bouchard.
Tyson Barry, 3. He and Murray lost an early corner battle, allowing a high low pass and a first-rate slot in the first. He gave up a huge gap on Negé’s fourth goal, gave up an outside shot, then failed to follow shooter Thomas Tatar into the net. He made an ugly turnover on NJ’s fifth goal.
Ryan Murray, 3. failed to convince.
Markus Niemelainen, 6. He delivered heavy blows to Dawson-Mercer and Nathan Bastian. Otherwise, little effect. But I liked those beats. They are his reason for being in the NHL. Play only 7:42.
Stuart Skinner, 1. It went very well for Skinner this year, but it definitely went sideways here. There was little chance he would score the first goal against him, but he made a huge mistake on the second, making a layup and gifting both the puck and the go-ahead goal to the Devils. Then, he stumbled onto Negé’s third goal, a top-notch shot. He lost the puck behind the net with a New Jersey forward check late in the second but the Devils failed to register that particular slip. On NJ’s fourth goal, he unleashed a massive rebound. Not his night. Not even close. that happens.
Staples: Will anyone be able to fill Ken’s shoes?
Leaves: 9 things
McCurdy: McDavid’s overtime heroics lead the Oilers to a 4-3 win over Vegas
Stapler: Nice please, can’t the Oilers give up the first goal