Evander Kane breaks out in important win for Edmonton Oilers
Kane had one goal in four games since returning from an undisclosed injury before breaking out in Seattle. Kane missed nine games with the injury, suspected to be an upper-body issue, adding to the 31 games he missed when his wrist was sliced open in Tampa Bay, inadvertently stepped on by Lightning forward Patrick Maroon.
Kane took a cross-ice pass from Zach Hyman on the play and beat Grubauer from the bottom of the left face-off circle. Hyman was back in the lineup after missing the past two games with an undisclosed injury.
“I’m happy for him; he’s a warrior, he plays through injuries,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said of Kane. “He’s just getting up and running again, because of his injuries and whatnot; it’s kind of been a stop-and-start season for him. But he’s been all around the puck in every game that he’s played, and for three to go in for him today, I was happy.
Kailer Yamamoto restored the lead for the Oilers with three-and-a-half minutes left in the period, tipping in a centring pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
“It was a good forecheck and I think Leo (Leon Draisaitl) gave it to Nuge (Nugent-Hopkins),” Yamamoto told Oilers TV. “I thought Nuge was actually going to shoot it, but it was a great pass and I was able to slide it five-hole. It was nice, especially with my parents in the stands, it felt good.”
Kane scored his second of the game 43 seconds into the second period, one-timing a pass from Connor McDavid after the puck bounced to him at right face-off circle.
Jordan Eberle cut the lead to 3-2 just under four minutes later, on a shot through Skinner. Eberle spun away from a check from Evan Bouchard and was fortunate to find the puck in his skates. He took an open lane to the net and beat Skinner from the slot.
Just after the goal, Grubauer skated to the bench in some distress, and had to be replaced by Martin Jones. Grubauer may have pulled something stretching out to try and contend with Kane’s one-timer minutes earlier.
“He just had some lingering stuff that was bugging him,” Woodcroft said of Hyman. “He’s had good numbers versus Seattle throughout the year, and he came up to me yesterday and said, ‘I’m in.’
“I was pleased, but sometimes when you play as hard as he does, when you’re a warrior like that, you accrue some bumps and bruises during the long grind of an 82-game schedule. And in the end, he played today and was a big factor in our win.”
Oliver Bjorkstrand cut the lead to 4-3 with 5:42 left in the period. He was left unattended in the slot, took a pass from Yanni Gourde and snapped a shot past Skinner.
“Part of my job is to be productive for this group,” Kane said. “We have two of the best players in the world, but they can’t carry a team and win a championship by themselves; you need everybody pulling their weight. We’ve had some really good depth scoring in the bottom half of our lineup and that’s been huge in some of our wins lately, and you need everybody going down the stretch here.”
McDavid sealed it with his 58th goal of the season, sifting a shot through Jones on the power play with just under four minutes to play.
The Oilers return to Edmonton and host the San Jose Sharks on Monday in the first of a three-game homestand. They will host the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday and Vegas Golden Knights Saturday.
“I like the way we started periods; we did some good things special-teams wise,” Woodcroft said. “It’s a tough building, they’re a good team. They have four lines that can all score and, in the end, we found a way to get the two points in a tough building. We’ll take them and move on.”
Quick Reaction: Raptors 111, Bucks 118
|O. Anunoby37 MIN, 22 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 8-12 FG, 4-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -1 +/-
Not much more you could ask for from OG tonight, except maybe for some more touches down the stretch. His run of great form continued against the Bucks tonight where he played phenomenally on both ends.
|P. Siakam39 MIN, 13 PTS, 12 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 5-14 FG, 1-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -12 +/-
Siakam is one of the better players in the league in terms of finding ways to impact the game when his shot isn’t falling, but boy the shot would have been nice to have tonight. He’s cooled down a bit from his unfathomably hot start earlier in the season. It’s not a cause to be concerned just yet, but as the team around him starts to hit their stride, it’ll be even sweeter as Pascal does as well.
|J. Poeltl31 MIN, 20 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 10-18 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, -17 +/-
It was nice to finally have someone who can take the Brook assignment without Nurse having to implement an entire scheme to make up for the lack of size. Even so, it wasn’t the greatest performance from the big man tonight, who went a shocking -17 in his 30 minutes.
|S. Barnes13 MIN, 5 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2-3 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -5 +/-
The X-ray came back negative thankfully, but Scottie missed the second half with a wrist injury. He was playing well up until his departure. While the loss is tough to swallow, it’s important to keep in mind that Mr. 4th Quarter had to watch it from the locker room.
|F. VanVleet38 MIN, 23 PTS, 4 REB, 11 AST, 1 STL, 9-21 FG, 3-8 3FG, 2-3 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 3 +/-
Fred always plays well against the Bucks and tonight was no different. He kept the ball moving and made shot after shot for a team that desperately needed it.
|P. Achiuwa20 MIN, 5 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 2-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 7 +/-
The numbers are underwhelming sure, but Precious looked like vintage Precious tonight. In a good way, too. Getting Precious back into a rhythm this season hasn’t been easy but he’s slowly finding his step, and was absolutely a positive on the floor tonight in a matchup where his physicality on defence was necessary.
|G. Trent Jr.33 MIN, 18 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 6-18 FG, 5-10 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-
This is a different Raptors team when Gary is on. He played great early on but it trailed off toward the latter half. I think he’ll continue to excel in his role off the bench, but in particular with Scottie out for the second half, Gary couldn’t deliver when they needed it tonight.
|C. Boucher16 MIN, 5 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-
A pretty unremarkable stretch from Boucher all things considered. The Bucks are not a great match-up for him either and it showed.
|W. Barton13 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 0-6 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -10 +/-
The Barton minutes were, too put it bluntly, bad. He got an extended run in the fourth and it cost the team a lot more than it should have. The backup PG revolving door may continue until game 82 at this rate.
Outside of a questionable lineup to open up the fourth, Nurse did fine to put us in a position to win against perhaps the best team in the league.
Things We Saw
- The Raptors clearly wanted to let the Bucks shoot from 3, and it almost worked. They took 45 threes tonight and only made 16.
- OG Anunoby took one shot in the fourth quarter after playing a stellar three quarters offensively. As easy as it is to say I’d love to see him be more assertive, the Raptors also have to make an effort to find him in these situations.
UPEI coach defends team’s actions at the U Sports Men’s Hockey National Championship
The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) coach is defending the team’s actions, after the University of Alberta (U of A) team skated off the ice without handshakes at the U Sports Men’s Hockey National Championship in Charlottetown.
The crowd booed and hurled trash as the U of A’s team left the ice after defeating UPEI in the semifinals Saturday night.
During the third period, the teams got into an on-ice fight following a hard hit against U of A’s goalie.
Speaking to reporters, University of Alberta’s head coach Ian Herbers said he made the decision to not take part in the traditional handshake for safety reasons.
“Didn’t feel safe for our players. I thought something else would happen and then get into a bigger incident, and then create bigger havoc, and then be a big black eye for our league, so I didn’t want that opportunity to happen,” said Herbers. “I felt it was safer for our players and better for the league not to get into a situation like that.”
Someone in the crowd hurled a beer can at the U of A team as they left the ice.
Some players on UPEI’s team said the choice to shake hands was disrespectful.
“Honestly it’s kind of classless. Yeah it was a rough game, but it’s hockey,” said UPEI player Keleb Pearson. “Some of the plays, yeah, they shouldn’t have happened, but come on, at least you can shake our hands.”
University of Prince Edward Island’s head coach Forbes MacPherson defended his team’s behaviour on the ice.
“There was one incident that happened with 14 minutes left in the game,” said MacPherson. “Nothing else happened after.”
MacPherson said that the incident on the ice isn’t representative of the team’s behaviour.
“At no point was there multiple incidents. There was one incident,” said MacPherson. “All year there was only one team in our conference that had less penalty minutes than us.”
Sunday’s bronze medal game began with a reminder that abuse against players, staff, and officials would not be tolerated.
Sharks’ James Reimer declines to wear Pride-themed jersey
San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer won’t take part in pre-game warmups, saying the team’s decision to wear Pride-themed jerseys in support of the LGBTQ community runs counter to his religious beliefs.
The Manitoba-born goalie, who got his start playing minor hockey in the small town of Arborg, said in a statement Saturday that he made the decision based on his Christian beliefs, adding that he “always strived to treat everyone with respect” and that members of the LGBTQ community should be welcome in hockey.
“In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions, which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life,” Reimer said.
A statement from Goaltender, James Reimer: <a href=”https://t.co/GwhWxhbmb4″>pic.twitter.com/GwhWxhbmb4</a>
Reimer is the second NHL player this season to refuse to take part in warmups with Pride-themed jerseys, with Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov declining to in January. Reimer was not slated to start in Saturday night’s home game against the New York Islanders, which is Pride night.
Additionally, the New York Rangers opted not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride stick tape as part of their night in January despite previously advertising that plan.
The Sharks said in a statement that they are proud to host Pride Night, saying the event reinforces the team’s commitment to inclusiveness.
“As we promote these standards, we also acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic,” the team said in a statement. “As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship.”
A statement from the San Jose Sharks: <a href=”https://t.co/nnhkcBS07V”>pic.twitter.com/nnhkcBS07V</a>
The You Can Play Project, which works to promote inclusiveness in sports, said the organization was disappointed in Reimer’s actions.
“Religion and respect are not in conflict with each other, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason to not support our community,” the organization said.
“Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebration jersey worn, is not about the personal feelings of an athlete; rather the communication from the team that a community is welcome in the arena and the sport.”
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