Player Ratings: Another comeback fails as Oilers get guarded by Sabers

Content of the article

Sabers 4, Oilers 2

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

It was a rare matchup between Edmonton-born goaltenders on Tuesday night in their hometown. One of them ended up stealing the show; unfortunately for hometown Oilers fans, it was the man in the visiting colors. Eric Comrie was history, stopping 46 of 48 shots to lead the Buffalo Sabers to a 4-2 victory.

Content of the article

From the Oilers perspective, they had a much better first period than their previous two games, and a dominant third. Alas, they had a slip in the middle frame that came back to bite them on the (rear) end.

The Sabers broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of goals in the first 5 minutes of that second period, then held on until the end. The Oilers didn’t do much in the second, but took the game by the throat in the third, pumping 24 shots on Comrie but only managing to pass one with a minute and a half left. An empty net at the death restored the Sabers’ 2-goal margin for the official record.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

The loss may also have cost the Oilers the services of an exciting rookie Dylan Holloway who left the game after being demolished by Buffalo defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin with a legal but vicious hit.

The stats show the Oilers were the best team on the night: 79-45 in shot attempts, 48-24 in shots, 26-10 in high danger chances (per Natural Stat Trick). According to our counts at Hockey Cult18-10″ Grade A shots and 13-5 in 5-bell opportunities. Edmonton, however, handed the puck 18 times to Buffalo’s 11 and 2 of those turnovers led directly to the Sabers’ goals. Details matter.

Note: While this was a disappointing result, I think the Oilers played well enough to win this game 4 out of 5 times; it just happened to be the other 1. No reason to hit everyone with bad marks when the process was vastly improved, but the other team’s goalkeeper stood on his head.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

Player ratings

#2 Evan Bouchard, 5. Hammered 6 shots on net and maybe should have let go a few more times when he was in a good position. A few shaky moments behind his own blue line, one of which led to a costly NHL penalty after Bouchard lost his lane. Exceptional shot splits in less than 16 minutes of ice time, but only 1 contribution to a Category A shot — a blue line hold.

#5 Cody This, 5. Got an assist on Nurse’s goal with a play deep in his own territory. Beaten on 3 grade A hits the other way. 0 shot attempts. Drilled Jeff Skinner with a hard shot.

#13 Jesse Puljujarvi, 6 years old. A good night’s work with 6 shot attempts, 3 hits and a bunch of battles won. The best of his 3 Grade A shooting contributions was a nice chip pass that dispatched Hyman alone.

Advertisement 5

Content of the article

#14 Devin Shore, 5. Played only 5:37 as an extra forward, contributing a bit to the penalty kill and blocking 2 shots.

#18Zach Hyman, 6 years old. Another laborious game, but no rewards on the scoresheet. Had a great chance to tie the game at the last minute but couldn’t bury.

#22Tyson Barrie, 5. Led the Oilers defensemen in ice time with 21:59, including 5 minutes on a power-play unit that threatened but ultimately failed to score. Strong shooting action but got caught on JJ Peterka’s breakaway goal which turned out to be the game winner.

#25 Nurse Darnell, 6. Very noticeable all night, mostly in a good way but not entirely. Scored a nice goal to tie the score at 1-1 just 23 seconds after the Sabers opened the scoring, first sending the puck to Draisaitl and then blasting the ice for the return pass he hit at home. Beaten by a powerful movement on a fabulous goal by 6’7 Tage Thompson. The puck was stolen by Alex Tuch for a breakaway chance, but made a big effort on the backcheck to disrupt the actual shot. Twisted numbers throughout the event recap, highlighted by 7 penalty kicks and 4 giveaways. Took a penalty early, took a (dubious) one late.

Advertising 6

Content of the article

#27 Brett Kulak, 5. Silent game. Kept things pretty clean in the back.

#28Ryan Murray, 5 years old. Very calm. He too has kept things pretty tidy in the Edmonton area, which is his main job. Taken a penalty.

#29 Leon Draisaitl, 5. He played about 80% of a great game, posting great shot splits (shots were 19-7 Oilers in his 16½ minutes at 5-on-5) and participating in 12(!) Grade A shots only 2 against. Alas, those last two were turnovers at the offensive blue line that ended up lighting the lamp at the wrong end of the ice, while only one of the 12 positive contributions resulted in a goal for Edmonton. 5 gifts in the evening. 16/27=59% on the face-off point in 24:12 of action. How do you rate this? I chose a simple pass mark, but a high level mark, to say the least.

Advertising 7

Content of the article

#37Warren Foegele, 5. Competent but insignificant. His most significant moment was unintentional when his stint as leader at Holloway put the rookie straight into the tram tracks for a heavy hit. Foegele went at bat for the kid, which resulted in a power play for Buffalo. 2 hits, 4 hits, 2 takeaways but 0 grade A hit contributions.

#55 Dylan Holloway, 4. The NHL has proven to be a tough nut to crack for the rookie ever since games started counting for real points. It did indeed end badly, and far too soon, when he was crushed by Lyubushkin’s 6’2 and 208 lbs on open ice. Played nearly 5 minutes before, including each special team’s time.

#56 Kailer Yamamoto, 4. Quiet night offensively with only 1 shot. 2 grade A shot contributions but part of the problem on 3 the other way including the match winner when he joined the rush 4v3 but looked surprised by Draisaitl’s pass and didn’t haven’t been able to handle it.

Advertising 8

Content of the article

#71Ryan McLeod, 4. No problem defensively (apart from a hook penalty) but not much happening offensively. He went offside on a run which was missed by the official but would surely have disallowed a goal had one been scored (Yamamoto hit the crossbar). Later, he ruined another breakout by holding the puck too long, which sent McDavid back up. 0 strokes.

#74Stuart Skinner, 5. A few decent stops. Was beaten from distance by a well-placed drive from Rasmus Dahlin to open the scoring. Had little luck on Thompson’s formidable swoop, deke and tuck. 23 shots, 20 saves, .870 save percentage.

#80 Markus Niemelainen, 5. Played just 6:45 with 0 shots, 3 hits. Made an important save, using his long reach to swing a lunge pass out of harm’s way. His biggest involvement was when he came up the ice on an Oilers 4-man run, leaving just Barrie to take care of the store when the puck suddenly went the other way.

Advertising 9

Content of the article

#91 Evander Kane, 6 years old. Throughout the event recap with 11 shot attempts, 5 shots on goal, 7 hits, 2 giveaways. A very intense effort, but no finish on a night when the oil desperately needed it.

#93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 6. Took the skate of shame early in the game shortly after picking up a hook penalty that put the Oilers down 4-for-3. Contributed to 8 Category A shots and was credited with 7 shots on net to tie Nurse at the head of the team. Finally solved Comrie with a great one-timer upstairs but it was too little too late. 3/10=30% in the free pass circle.

#97Connor McDavid, 7 years old. Fairly quiet for 40 minutes before exploding in a dominant third period. From the first quarter of this last quarter to the last, McDavid was all over the puck and in the Buffalo zone, but like his comrades could not solve the goaltender. Made a number of fine passes straight into the blue paint, but Comrie did a great job sealing the ice. Eventually, he was successful late in the game when he fished a loose puck to NHL with just enough room to get some air under the puck. Was sent into the boards by Dahlin on a play that had the home crowd screaming for a penalty but none to come. 9/16 = 56% on point. Played a whopping 26:52 including 10:14 of convincing hockey in the last frame.

Recently at the Cult of Hockey

McCURDY: Oilers vs. Sabers Game Day

STAPLES: Leaky D: The Oilers have a rocky start

LEAVINS: 9 things

McCURDY: Player goes from 4 to 3 losses against the Flames

McCURDY: Solving the latest NHL scheduling problem

STAPLES: Player ratings for Oilers’ 5-3 win over Canucks

follow me on twitter @Bruce McCurdy

Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you 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, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. See our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


Back to top button