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"E" for effort, but the Edmonton Oilers still take the "L" in a 4-2 loss to Leafs – Edmonton Journal

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The short-handed Oilers allowed a seeing-eye empty net goal late, spoiling a solid effort in Toronto with a 4-2 loss to the Leafs.

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With the likes of Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Tyson Barrie and Derek Ryan others out of the lineup for various reasons, the club (including several press box regulars) put in the requisite work.

But that still didn’t spell a win, or erase the fact that the club is now 2-9-2 in their last 13.

Here’s the tale of the tape.

Edmonton Oilers Player Grades

MIKE SMITH . 6. Smith gave the club a chance to win, even though his own game was far from perfect. Opened the night with a puck that banked off the end boards through a partial screen/deflection and then bounced off Smith’s heel and into the net for the 1-0. That smacked of “rust”, as Smith doesn’t normally pull off his post that easily. But Smith then went on a terrific run, punctuated by a massive blocker save on a Nylander breakaway late in the 2 nd Period to keep the game in check. Also stopped Bunting (twice) and Matthews (twice) before finally getting caught deep in his crease on the 3-2 PP goal. Had zero chance on the 2-2.

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RYAN McLEOD . 6. McLeod was quite good in a significant step-up in weight class. Only allowed one HDSC against and was a 52% CF and 50% on draws during his 13:32 as a 2C. That, against a Toronto club loaded down the middle. McLeod’s best chance on offence was a 2 nd Period power move off the wall on which he beat everyone but himself, attempting a cross-mouth pass…not realizing there was a gaping net in front of him. His “shot” hit Jack Campbell in the back and stayed out. McLeod will see that play in his sleep tonight.

ZACH HYMAN . 4. Hyman is still not back to where he was before the injury. As always, the work rate was present and consistent. But the results weren’t, as the ugly -3 in his box-score would indicate. Still, he had 2 shots, 2 hits and 2 shot blocks. Hyman and Draisaitl also turned a puck North on the Leaf’s 2 nd Period Power Play and managed a scoring chance at the other end. Alas, the next PK unit wasn’t as effective.

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JESSE PULJUJARVI . 5. A little too quiet on a night when some of your big guns are out of the lineup and you need him to step up. Puljujarvi’s best chance was a big 3 rd Period blast which Campbell managed to handle. That was 1 of 2 shots. And he did manage to come up with a couple puck battle wins. But he has yet to hit his stride since a stay on COVID protocol. Might be a factor.

DARNELL NURSE . 4. Darnell Nurse’s unforced icing in the 2 nd Period led up to a Toronto faceoff win and the 2-2 goal (albeit on a rather fortuitous bounce). That was aside from his 0 HDSC’s For and 5 Against on a challenging night fore the 1 st pairing of Nurse and Bouchard. But…Darnell also played 24:49 in all 3 areas of the game, collecting 2 shots, 3 hits and 4 shot blocks along the way. Nurse wasn’t great, but some of that was his young partner having “a night”.

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EVAN BOUCHARD . 3. A rough outing for the kid on the 1 st pairing, including a 3 rd Period where he was eaten up defensively. That included coughing up a puck that he had full control of and taking a penalty in the process. Toronto subsequently converted that into the winning goal on the Power Play. Walked by Nylander. Beat back into his own end to negate a possible icing. Bouchard did add some offensive punch including 4 shots on goal and a silky end-to-end 3rd Period rush. But for all his skill, he needs to bear down more in his own zone.

LEON DRAISAITL . 7. In the absence of his buddy Connor, Draisaitl was what you hoped he would be: the Oilers best player. Swept home the 2-1 goal in front for his 26 th of the season. Leon led the club in shots with 5 and in TOI with 24:49. That included 2:22 on the PK, more than his 1:42 on the PP. How often does that happen? Shouldered a heavy load in the face-off circle and came up just shy of break-even (46%). One of the few negatives…a failed zone clear on the 1-0. Named the game’s 3 rd star. Tied for the NHL lead in point with 53, goal leader with 26.

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WARREN FOEGELE . 6. It’s not always pretty with Warren Foegele’s game. In fact, some of his best moments were when he was grinding. Led the club with 4 hits, a part of his game I’d like to see more of. A good play along the wall helped lead directly to the 2-1. I also noted a furious effort on a 1st Period fore check. I’m pretty sure 20:38 is his most TOI in a game this year. Huh…go figure. He plays better with better players.

KAILER YAMAMOTO . 6. I saw Kailer Yamamoto hustle with every step that he took tonight. Rewarded with an assist on just a beautiful set-up on the Draisaitl goal. Also dug out a couple pucks from Leafs control. Cleared a puck from the crease after it had hit the post behind Mike Smith but stayed out. An effective 2-way effort from guy who has been struggling.

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DUNCAN KEITH . 6. Duncan Keith was the club’s best D-man on the team’s best D-pairing this evening. The combination of TOI, High Danger Scoring Chances For Against and a break-even night in CF 5v5 backs up what the eyes saw. Keith was also +1 in 21:22 of work. A hit, a takeaway. Won a puck battle key to keeping the play alive on the 1-1 goal. Saved a goal by out-battling Tavares for a would-be 2 nd Period tap-in to keep the score at 2-2. On a solid run of games, now.

CODY CECI . 5. Ceci lost puck battle deep in his own zone which eventually led to the 1-0, although the goal itself was a bit suspect. But he also had 2 shots (one a very good chance, off a pass from Draisaitl) and 3 hits in an otherwise solid 21:41 alongside Keith. The HDSC count shows that he and his partner sawed-off against a healthy Toronto club. You’ll take that, I think.

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DEVIN SHORE . 4. Shore stepped in to take 3C minutes, which I respect him for doing. But he was badly exposed at times. Evidence? 6-12, 33% CF 5v5. 33% in the circle, including a face off loss on the winning goal. A 3 rd Period takeaway led to a good chance for Kassian.

TYLER BENSON. 5. Benson handled his step up to the 3 rd line nicely. Drew a 2 nd Period Power Play with a hard fore check behind the Leafs net. Set up Kassian for an excellent chance with a 2 nd Period keep. 1 shot of his own in 10:10, double what he normally sees.

ZACK KASSIAN . 4. Looked very rusty, something I’ve come to expect from any player returning from COVID protocol. But he did have 3 shots on goal, including a dangerous one off a smart play by Benson to keep the puck in the zone. A 1 st Period O-Zone turnover led to a chance at the other end.

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SLATER KOEKKOEK. 4. A fair bit of wobble in Koekkoek’s half of the 3 rd pairing. But while be bent he didn’t break. A good chance in the 1 st off a nice Draisaitl pass. A big shot block in the 2 nd Period. I felt he was able to get out of Smith’s eyes on the 3-2.

WILLIAM LAGESSON . 6. I thought this was perhaps William Lagesson’s best effort as an Oiler. His finest moment was a gritty point-blank shot block on a 2 nd Period PK. 2 hits in 12:05. He was solid all night. Battled hard.

COLTON SVEVIOUR . 6. An excellent 2-way game. A perfect pass across to Perlini for the 1-1 1 st Period goal. A 2nd Period takeaway and clear. 2 hits and a block in 10:08. The only rough patch in his game was 38% on draws.

BRENDAN PERLINI . 6. Blasted home his 2 nd goal of the season on a beautiful set-p by Sceviour. Drove the net hard on a 2 nd Period chance but was clipped on his way to the net (no call) and his shot skiffed wide. 3 shots in 9:37.

KYLE TURRIS. 6. Back-to-back games with a point for Kyle Turris. His assist in this one was on a smart chip up the wall to Sceviour leading to the 1-1. Had 1 shot of his own. Saw a little PP time, too (set up Draissaitl for a shot).

Edmonton’s record slides further still, to 18-14-2. Up next? Ottawa, Monday.

Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

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Olympics-Canadian snowboarder Parrot eyes Beijing gold after cancer battle

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Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot said on Friday that the mental toughness he gained during his battle with cancer carried over to the slopes where the slopestyle Pyeongchang silver medallist now hopes to go one better and win gold at the Beijing Olympics.

Parrot’s career was put on hold when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in December 2018. Two months after being declared cancer free in mid-2019, Parrot won an X Games big air gold medal in his return to competition.

Showing no signs of rust, Parrot also won a World Cup gold later that year and started off 2020 with another big air gold at the X Games in Aspen.

“Every year I become better and better physically and mentally, and especially going through such a big challenge as cancer you get really more mentally tough,” Parrot told a virtual news conference.

“If you look back at my season right after my cancer … It was pretty much my best year ever.”

Parrot finished fifth in his Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games before a runner-up showing at Pyeongchang.

The 27-year-old Canadian pre-qualified for the slopestyle/big air team headed to Beijing based on his results from the 2020-21 winter season and is not shy about his intentions.

“Of course my goal is to go for the gold, that’s for sure,” said Parrot, whose cancer battle is chronicled in a documentary called “MAX – Life as a Gold Medal” that was released this week on his website.

“But I am really happy as well that if I don’t get the gold I won’t have any regrets because I did everything in my power over the past couple months and that was something important for me as well, just to not have any regrets.”

While there were some days during Parrot’s cancer battle where he wondered if he would ever return to the sport he loves, he said he never let those thoughts take over.

“When I had cancer it was ‘OK, I’m going to do treatments, I am going to do them as best as possible’ and even if I didn’t know if the treatments would work or not, in my mind cancer had no chance against me,” said Parrot.

“I had a lot of determination and motivation and the whole time I just wanted to get back to my passion as soon as possible. But never getting back to it was not really an option in my head.”

 

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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Canada's Denis Shapovalov is on to the fourth round of the Australian Open – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The Canadian Press


Published Friday, January 21, 2022 7:28AM EST


Last Updated Friday, January 21, 2022 6:40PM EST

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov has a spot in the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time in his career.

He beat Reilly Opelka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to set up a showdown with third-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany.

The Canadian has been pushed hard at Melbourne Park, averaging three hours 37 minutes of court time per win so far.

“I’ve gotten very familiar with the ice baths the last week,” Shapovalov said with a smile in an on-court interview. “We’ve become very good friends.”

At six foot 11 and 225 pounds, Opelka is an imposing force on the court. He had a 17-10 edge in aces on the 14th-seeded Shapovalov but made 46 unforced errors.

“Early on I actually found a rhythm on his serve,” Shapovalov said. “I was able to chip quite a lot back, so I was happy with that. I think I did a really good of just taking the chances today.

“Obviously it’s really tough to get the rhythm against a guy like that so I’m super happy.”

It was the first career meeting between Shapovalov and the 23rd-seeded American. Zverev, meanwhile, has a 4-2 edge in head-to-head matchups against the Canadian.

“Hopefully I can win,” Zverev said. “It’s going to be a great match.”

Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., previously reached the third round at Melbourne Park in 2019 and 2021. The 22-year-old’s best Grand Slam performance was a semifinal showing last year at Wimbledon.

Zverev defeated Maldova’s Radu Albot 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in third-round play.

“Radu is in great form right now … 1/8I’m 3/8 happy to be through in three sets,” Zverev said.

Ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal was scheduled to play Britain’s Daniel Evans in third-round play Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2022.

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Defense trade targets for the Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe's "soft" comment, and how many games should Petr Mrazek start the rest of the way? – MLHS Podcast Episode 38 – Maple Leafs Hot Stove

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Founded in 2008, Maple Leafs Hotstove (MLHS) has grown to be the most visited independent team-focused hockey website online (Quantcast).
Independently owned and operated, MLHS provides thorough and wide-ranging content, varying from news, opinion and analysis, to pre-game and long-form game reviews, and a weekly feature piece entitled “Leafs Notebook.”
MLHS has been cited by: ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBC News, USA Today, Fox Sports, Yahoo! Sports, NBC Sports, TSN, Sportsnet, Grantland, CTV News, CBSSports, The Globe & Mail, The National Post, The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, Global News, Huffington Post, and many more.

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