Player ratings: Big three centers help propel Edmonton Oilers against Calgary Flames

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The Edmonton Oilers and their three big centers battled it out to win the rubber game of the Battle of Alberta on Tuesday, a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames.

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Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each led their own line and each played a solid two-way game, with McDavid scoring the winner midway through the third. Edmonton then hung on for the win, playing a reasonably solid defense, giving or taking a shot from Calgary to the post with six seconds left.

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Overall Category A shots were 12 for the Oilers, 15 for the Flames, with the even more dangerous shots subset at 5 alarms, five for Edmonton and six for Calgary.

Connor McDavid, 8 years old. He was silent until 100 seconds left in the first when he blocked a shot and then broke the ice to pass Puljujarvi for a 5-alarm shot. Great streak in the second when he nailed a Flames clearance attempt, pushed into the slot and set up Draisaitl for his fearsome executioner’s shot. He came out of his position on the PK in the second before Toffoli slapped the post. He charged the ice to set up Hyman in the third, then scored a power-play goal, moving one way and shooting another, beating Markstrom brilliantly. He cleared Backlund’s shot to the post with six seconds left, but it hit the post.

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Zach Hyman, 7 years old. He flipped a shot on Markstrom’s mask in the second. He failed to clear a wide open 5 alarms early in the third. He won the board battle by launching the Virtuous Cycle on McDavid’s power-play goal in third.

Jesse Puljujarvi, 6 years old. He was an effective glue player on the big line, filling in well to stop the Flames’ breakout plays. He got a puck out early which bought more time in the o zone. He went upstairs where mom keeps the cookies on his mean first-period wrist but Markstrom thwarted him.

Leon Draisaitl, 7 years old. Some weak moments in defense, but excellent in attack. He was part of the gang that screened Markstrom on Barrie’s second-period goal. Moments later, he unleashed his executioner’s shot at Markstrom not once, but twice, but was stopped both times. He was slow to cover Dube in the slot in a 5-alarm second period. He got another shot from 5 scares late in the second on a Foegele-Nurse passing streak. He led the Oilers with 5 shots.

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Kailer Yamamoto, 7 years old. Solid effort throughout. Great early check to break up a 3-on-2 run in Calgary. He won a board battle and made a fine pass to set up Barrie’s goal.

Warren Foegele, 6 years old. He combined well with Draisaitl on some dangerous shots. A few errors in defense leading to Grade A shots against.

Ryan Nugent Hopkins, 7 years old. He fired Edmonton’s first Grade A shot of the game. He wandered into the red light zone on Calgary’s first base, covering no one, blocking a passing or shooting lane. He set up Drai for a nasty outburst in the second. He won a battle of pucks in his own zone, then fought his way onto the ice for a dangerous backhand early in the third.

Mattias Janmark, 4. He started the first goal of the pain sequence on the flames allowing the pass into the slot from behind the net. He made a bad read leading to a 2-to-1 chance for the Flames in the third.

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Klim Kostin, 6 years old. Solid board play and puck protection in his own zone in the first. Paid the price for his team by blocking a dangerous shot later in the same period.

Derek Ryan, 6 years old. His stretch pass in the first helped send McLeod for a dangerous shot. He made a key clearance on the PK in the second.

Dylan Holloway, 5 years old. He knocked down Tanev with a solid jab in the second.

Ryan McLeod, 6 years old. He found RNH with a pass for Edmonton’s first Grade A, then got his own on a feed from Ryan.

Nurse Darnell, 7. A typical high level nurse game, some bad, some good, but some good when needed. He scrambled to deny the Flames an important punt call late in the first, with a depleted unit getting much needed relief. But like NHL, he wandered into the Red Light Zone on Calgary’s first goal. He made a block just in time on Toffoli in the second slot. His stretch pass helped send Draisaitl on a 5-alarm late in the second period. He played solid defense when it mattered, in the streak where oil so often retreated. He led the Oilers in playing 23:32.

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Cody Ceci, 6 years old. He was one of the culprits for Calgary’s first goal, losing a battle. Solid defensive play down the stretch.

Tyson Barrie, 7 years old. Another good game for Barrie He blocked a dangerous shot early on. He scored Edmonton’s first goal in heavy traffic. He made a smart play clearing the board at the end of the second to relieve the major pressure from the Flames.

Brett Kulak, 5. His defensive struggles continue. He lost a battle to Lucic on an A-grade counter shot in the first. A short time later, he turned the puck over, then failed to stop the Flames’ rush inside the oil play, leading to a Grade A shot against. He allowed a 5-alarm shot tip from Lucic in the third. He made a strong play late in the third period to stop a shot from the Flames slot machine.

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Evan Bouchard, 5. His early turnover led to a Grade A shot for Toffoli. He made a nice poke-check on Mangiapane at the start of the third.

Markus Niemelainen, 6. He got the stick on the puck on a bad Flames shot, deflecting it wide early in the second.

Stuart Skinner, 7 years old. He was snappy in his first Category A event, a slot shot from Toffoli, and made a few more solid saves on tough shots in the first. He got lucky in the second when Toffoli’s power-play harpoon hit the post. He was super solid the rest of the game, sucking up rebounds and rejecting Flames shots like they were wrapping paper stuffed in the recycling bag on Christmas morning. He was saved by the post on Backlund’s shot with six seconds left.

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