Edmonton Oilers turn in a rock-solid, 2-way effort in 4-1 win over Dallas
Here is the tale of the tape…
Cult of Hockey Player Grades
STUART SKINNER. 8. Stuart Skinner gave the club the saves it needed tonight. A quiet 1st Period against Dallas but was put to work in the 2nd and he delivered. Made a fine stop on Pavelski through a screen, then stuffed Benn short-side moments later. Then, a tremendous blocker save off Benn yet again through an impossible screen by Hintz. Fine positional save off a dangerous Lindell tip early in the 2nd. Finished off his night with a good save on Hintz in the 3rd and the Dallas goaltender out. Stopped 25 of 26. Named the game’s 1st Star.
EVANDER KANE. 5. Finished a check hard on Dellandrea as the latter attempted to drive the net. Good net drive on a 2nd Period PP but could not scoop home the rebound. No luck on a rebound off a McDavid rush a couple shifts later, either. 4 hits. Drew the tripping call that led to the 3-1 PP goal. Rang the post on the man advantage.
DARNELL NURSE. 6. A neutral zone turnover in the 2nd but made up for it with an excellent close on Pavelski seconds later. Got neither puck nor man on the 2-1 goal against. 2 shots, 2 hits, 2 blocks. But High Dangers 5v5 were 4-6.
LEON DRAISAITL. 7. No assist but integral in the sequence leading to the 1-0, 29 really had his feet moving on the play. Threw a fantastic pass through to Nugent-Hopkins who could not finish. Fed McDavid from behind the net for a point-blank chance in the 2nd. Hard, on-the-tape pass across the ice to a waiting McDavid for the 3-1. Power drive up the middle a shift later, probably should have been a call on the play. 61% on draws against an excellent faceoff team.
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS. 7. Had numerous chances, 4 shots in all. A head’s-up pass to Foegele net-side on the 1-0 goal. Just missed depositing a rebound off a 1st Period shot by Ceci. Had another opportunity in the same frame off a terrific Draisaitl pass. Steal and clear with the Dallas net empty. 5v5 CF 17-7, 71%.
MATTIAS EKHOLM. 8. A tower of strength. A neat pickpocket of Jamie Benn deep in the Oilers zone in the 1st. Calm clear on the 1st Period PK, too. A couple zone clears on a 2nd Period PK. Led the club in ice time with 22:38 of work. 2 blocked shots. 4 takeaways and +3. Ala Bob Stauffer, Ekholm is +13 in 8 games as an Edmonton Oiler.
EVAN BOUCHARD. 8. Managed the puck quite well. A smart defensive play early, when he cleared a puck out of his own crease. A clever shot pass got the puck through traffic where Nugent-Hopkins and Foegele teamed up on the 1-0. A well-deserved assist on the play. This pair was excellent. Named 3rd star.
KLIM KOSTIN. 4. Had some serious issues handling the puck along the wall. Blocked a shot. O-zone takeaway led to a 3rd period chance. But did not have a good go and was crushed in the shot shares in limited work.
MATTIAS JANMARK. 7. Drove the net hard on a 2-on-1 with McDavid and knifed home a terrific pass from 97 to make it 2-0. Excellent play along the wall to clear the zone under pressure early in the 3rd. Salted this one away with an empty netter late against his old team.
BRETT KULAK. 6. Whistled for a highly suspect, “barely there” hook late in the 2nd. Allowed just a single High Danger chance against.
DEREK RYAN. 5. Diving clear on the 1st Period PK. Drew a 2nd Period hook.
DEVIN SHORE. 5. Smart blocked shot and clear on a 2nd Period PK.
PHILIP BROBERG. 5. High Dangers 5v5 3-1 with him on the ice. Light night, just 9:02, but a shot, a block and +1. To his credit, most of his shifts were on the right side. Not always an easy assignment.
The Oilers are now 38-23-8, 84 points. That is good for 3rd in the Pacific, 3 up on Seattle where the Oilers are headed next.
Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins, on Instagram at LeavinsOnHockey, and now on Mastodon at KurtLeavins@mstdn.social
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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Senators
BOSTON – The Bruins will be back on home ice on Tuesday night as they return from a lengthy five-game road trip to host the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden. Boston has bounced back to win three straight after a brief lull in its record-breaking season produced a stretch of three losses in four games.
“Hold ourselves accountable,” Matt Grzelcyk said of how the Bruins have rebounded quickly from the downturn. “And I feel like that Winnipeg game, we got a huge goal second shift, I think that just kind of starts getting things going the right way – and having that more attacking mentality offensively, defensively, taking time and space away from them. And I think it was a good transition and that’s when we could kind of overwhelm teams.”
Here’s everything else you need to know ahead of the 7 p.m. ET puck drop on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub:
On the Injury Front
Derek Forbort did not take part in the morning skate and is unlikely to play again before the postseason, per coach Jim Montgomery. The blue liner suffered a lower-body injury after blocking a shot on March 16 in Winnipeg.
“We do not expect him back before the end of the regular season,” said Montgomery, who added that Forbort does not require surgery.
Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno, both of whom have been out for nearly a month with lower-body injuries of their own, have resumed skating. Foligno took the ice on his own ahead of Tuesday’s morning skate, while Hall joined his teammates donning a maroon non-contact jersey.
“They’re checking boxes and are progressing well, but there’s no timeline for them yet,” said Montgomery. “I still think they are a ways away. It’s not at the point where I’m starting to think about lines and stuff.”
When they do return, however, Montgomery is eager to have plenty of options up front.
“I don’t think it’s a problem. It’s a great situation,” he said. “You’ll get to see when they get back who plays with who, and a deep lineup is going to get even deeper. So, it’s a great problem to have.”
After sitting out Sunday’s game in Buffalo, David Krejci (soreness) and Dmitry Orlov (defense rotation) will be back in the lineup. A.J. Greer and Jakub Zboril will be the healthy scratches.
The Senators, on the second end of a back-to-back, snapped a five-game losing streak on Monday night with a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh. The recent downturn has pushed Ottawa (34-31-5, 73 points) six points behind Florida for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
After winning the first two games against the Bruins this season – both on home ice – the Senators fell to Boston, 3-1, on Feb. 20 at TD Garden.
“I think they won [on Monday night], so they’re probably feeling pretty good about themselves,” said Grzelcyk. “Every game probably feels pretty close to a playoff game and they haven’t been there in a few years. They’ve got a lot to prove and they’ve got a lot of young talent…a good power play.
“We’ve got to stay disciplined, something we’ve lacked in a little bit recently. I’ve got to be mindful of that and I don’t want to give them any easy opportunities. And they played last night, so get on them early and make them work for it.”
Ottawa is paced by Tim Stutzle, who leads the club with 35 goals and 78 points in 66 games. Brady Tkachuk (30-42-72) has also hit the 30-goal, 70-point plateau, while Claude Giroux (28-30-68), Alex DeBrincat (21-35-56), and Drake Batherson (21-34-55) have reached the 20-goal mark.
Tuesday’s Projected Lineup
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jake DeBrusk
Pavel Zacha – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Tyler Bertuzzi – Charlie Coyle – Trent Frederic
Jakub Lauko – Tomas Nosek – Garnet Hathaway
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm – Brandon Carlo
Dmitry Orlov – Connor Clifton
Linus Ullmark/Jeremy Swayman
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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Senators