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Player grades: Oilers pour on the offence but forget defence, drop 6-5 barnburner to Jets in barnburner – Edmonton Journal

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Jets 6, Oilers 5

Fresh off a road trip that saw them win three consecutive low-scoring games, the Edmonton Oilers returned home and proceeded to forget everything they learned about tidy play in their own end of the ice. Turnovers inside their own blueline burned them multiple times, including on all three tie-breaking goals the Winnipeg Jets scored, the last of which broke a 5-5 deadlock early in the final frame. For all the sweat energy the Oilers poured into overcoming what was at one point a three-goal deficit, all they had to show for it at night’s end was another regulation loss, their eighth of the season.

It was an old-fashioned barnburner, though one that had coach Dave Tippett forlornly talking more about mistakes that cost the Oilers than the good things that happened at the other end. His club poured it on for long stretches, outshooting the visitors by a whopping 45-24 and holding a 15-10 bulge in Grade A scoring chances as logged here at the Cult of Hockey (running count).

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By the numbers a key difference was goaltending, where one Winnipeg netminder, Connor Hellebuyck, made 40 saves, while two Edmonton stoppers combined for just 18 stops. Ouch.

Player grades

#6 Adam Larsson, 5. Played his heart out with some hard physical play, but went way out of position to nail Dylan DeMelo after the Jets defenceman had taken down Shore, and before you knew it the puck had gone from those left defensive boards to the Larsson’s side of the defensive slot to the back of the net. Was walked by the slippery Nikolaj Ehlers for a later chance. The Oilers outshot Winnipeg 13-7 during his 17 even-strength minutes.

#8 Kyle Turris, 3. Saw just 6:53 of action, a season low, during which 4 goals were scored, 2 each way. Was not involved in either Oilers goal, both scored by Chiasson, but allowed a key pass on the one Winnipeg tally and a slot deflection on the other (respectively, the 4-1 and the 5-3). Recorded 0 individual stats of any type, unless you call 0% on the dot a “stat”. Rode the bench for all but 2 shifts in the final frame. After earlier playing his way off the penalty kill unit (5 goals against in just 23 minutes of action), he has now played just under 3 hours of even strength hockey during which time the Oilers have allowed 15 goals. Press box might be next, and even the waiver wire is not out of the question to facilitate such a move.

#13 Jesse Puljujarvi, 7. Played a strong two-way game, firing 8 shot attempts, 5 of them on goal. His best moment was a great cross-ice feed to RNH for the 5-5 goal. Played 17:27 on the night but just a single 30-second shift in the final 6:45, a somewhat mystifying deployment on a night the big Finn had the wheels going.

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#14 Devin Shore, 6. Made a great wall pass to spring Chiasson for the 1-1 goal. Taken down with what appeared to be a slewfoot by DeMelo on a sequence that led directly to the fourth Jets’ goal. Also took a Mathieu Perreault high stick to the noggin that went undetected on what was frankly an iffy night by the men in stripes.

#15 Josh Archibald, 6. Human torpedo was all over the place, nailing Jets at every opportunity. 6 official hits on the night including a couple of major wallops. Nearly buried one great pass from McDavid on the doorstep, then minutes later was part of a full out scrum in the Winnipeg crease that very nearly forced the puck over the goal line. A clean 1:49 on the penalty kill.

#16 Jujhar Khaira, 6. He too was laying on the body, landing 8 official hits which is a season high for any Oiler, forward or d-man. Not credited with any shots, though he sure appeared to jam a super-dangerous shot from close range which was somehow repelled at the goal line. 7/13=54% on the dot and 1:13 of strong penalty killing.

#19 Mikko Koskinen, 5. Came on early in the second to replace Smith and largely settled things down. Was beaten on two mid-air deflections from the slot and couldn’t really be blamed on either. That was enough to saddle the Finn with the official loss, despite the Oilers “winning” his part of the game 4-2. Made a couple of excellent stops. 13 shots, 11 saves, .846 save percentage.

#20 Slater Koekkoek, 4. On the ice for the first three Jets’ goals. Seemingly frozen in place on the third, when he played Mason Appelton’s one-on-one as if it were a two-on-one when the only other skater in the area was a backchecking Puljujarvi.

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#21 Dominik Kahun, 3. Made a terrific wall pass to Draisaitl for a Grade B chance on his first shift, but barely noticeable thereafter, at least in a good way. Zero shot attempts. Took a costly penalty — “two minutes for standing in a spot an opponent wanted to skate through”, I think was the call — that was converted into the game’s first goal. Shortly after the Oilers finally tied the game 5-5, he made a horrendous turnover at his own blueline that quickly ended up in the back of the net. Spent the remaining 13:38 nailed to the bench.

#22 Tyson Barrie, 7. On a night the Oilers were reduced to five defenders early, he played a monstrous 30:48, a season high for any Oiler. It’s not like the team had a bunch of powerplay time either, just 2:44 on the night, meaning over 28 minutes for Barrie at even strength. Contributed 1 assist at each discipline. Despite his high-risk style, he made zero defensive blunders that led to major chances, indeed, he chipped in one sliding defensive play to put out a developing fire.  Took a penalty, drew a penalty.

#25 Darnell Nurse, 6. Involved early when he dropped the gloves with the mountainous Adam Lowry. Points for courage, I guess, even as his team needs Nurse on the ice, preferably with two working hands. He did return to play 27:18. Made a great rush and pass to set up a splendid Puljujarvi chance. Burned on the third Jets goal when he left his position to take a run at Mark Scheifele, who slipped the puck through to Appleton who beat both Koekkoek and Smith on an angled rush. Minutes later his point shot was tipped home by Yamamoto to narrow the deficit to 4-3, Nurse’s 10th even strength point of the season, the most of any NHL defenceman. His stat line could be sung to the tune of A Partridge in a Pear Tree: 6 hits, 5 PiM, 4 shot attempts, 3 blocks, 2 giveaways, 1 assist.

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#29 Leon Draisaitl, 5. No points on the night as he has hit a bit of a Drai spell after matching last season’s hot start of 25 points through 14 games (that part of the hockey season formerly known as “October”). Oilers did control play on his watch, outshooting the Jets 13-3 during his 20 minutes at evens. Made a superb play to set the table for Yamamoto’s goal, gaining the zone with a hard rush and making a diagonal pass to find the trailer Barrie on the far point, though two other mates subsequently touched the puck. Made a great cross-seam pass to RNH for a powerplay drive that was repelled by Hellebuyck’s best save on the night. A few other good passes went to waste on a night his wingers were not clicking. 6 shot attempts of his own, though just 1 was on goal. Broke Lowry’s ankles twice on the same extended o-zone possession, once along either side wall. He was among those Oilers beaten in the continuation after Kahun’s fatal turnover, and made a bad mistake of his own in the defensive slot that Koskinen covered off. Got absolutely crushed by Neal Pionk in the final minute but made the play. Another strong night on the dot with 13/22=59%.

#39 Alex Chiasson, 8. Scored his first 2 goals of the season on a pair of terrific snipes. Slipped behind the defence to take Shore’s terrific lead pass at the blueline, burst in 2-on-1, looked off Hellebuyck before dinging a perfect shot off the short side post and in. Recovered a loose puck on the side boards, fed the point, then headed for the net front to take Ennis’ centring feed and beat Hellebuyck cleanly from the slot, top shelf. Involved in two other Oilers chances, both through his specialty of screening the goalie, and was similarly providing heavy shade when McDavid set up RNH for Edmonton’s last half-chance in the dying seconds.

#41 Mike Smith, 3. One game after everything went right in his 40th career shutout, the tables were turned on the veteran as Winnipeg snipers were hitting their shots. Had no chance at all on Scheifele’s perfect one-timer that opened the scoring; later was beaten cleanly on three slot shots that all found a hole. Those were the only 4 Grade A chances he faced, and they all went in. Got the mercy pull after the last of those, just 2:31 into the middle frame. While much of the blame can and should be placed on some sbysmal defensive play in front of him, the Oilers really needed a save or two at some point. 11 shots, 7 saves, .636 save percentage.

#56 Kailer Yamamoto, 4. Made 3 nasty turnovers in the first period, 2 of which led directly to Jets’ goals and the other to a dangerous jailbreak. Got one of those goals back when he deftly tipped home Nurse’s point shot to narrow the gap to 4-3. That was his only shot attempt of the night. Nonetheless got massive shifts of 2:13 and 2:18 down the stretch as Tippett shortened his bench to an extreme degree, winding up with a season-high 21:35. Did have 2 hits and blocked 2 more shots, to retake the lead among NHL forwards in that category with 25 blocks on the season.

#63 Tyler Ennis, 6. 2 shots, 4 hits, and a terrific assist on a slick feed to Chiasson in the slot. He got the push into Kahun’s spot down the stretch, at least in theory as Tippett went full blender.

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#75 Evan Bouchard, 7. Played his first career 20-minute game on the blueline, but definitely not his last. A menace in the offensive zone, where he fired a game-high 8 shots on goal with another 3 that (narrowly) missed the target. Equally a threat to pass, and earned 2 assists. Oilers dominated possession to the tune of 31-13 in shot attempts, 19-8 in shots on goal on his watch. Was victimized on the game winning goal when he was left to cover Blake Wheeler at the edge of the blue paint, on the wrong side of Wheeler’s massive frame to have any shot at taking away his stick, which tipped home the game winner on what was from Edmonton’s perspective a broken play.

#84 William Lagesson, 5. Played just 6:47 before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury. Oilers missed his steady defensive presence.

#93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 7. Broke out a 5-game goalless drought with a pair of snipes, one on the powerplay and the other a top-shelf rocket that tied the score 5-5 early in the third. Was absolutely stoned by Hellebuyck’s best save of the night on a powerplay one-timer that appeared to be a certain goal. Barely missed tipping one home in the dying seconds. Had 11 shot attempts on the night, 7 of them on goal, and added 2 hits and 2 takeaways. But he and Yamamoto were both beaten by the same cross-seam pass on Winnipeg’s powerplay goal when neither had his stick in the lane.

#97 Connor McDavid, 8. Another indomitable effort by Oilers’ guiding light, who skated miles and made things happen all night long in a whopping 26:36 of ice time. Winnipeg did a good job of fending off his straight-on rushes without allowing a breakthrough, but that didn’t stop #97 from creating in multiple other ways. One fine example involved him twice bouncing the puck to himself off the back of the Jets goal frame to bamboozle a defender before threading a saucer pass to Puljujarvi in the slot. Fired 7 shots of his own. Made major contributions to 8 of the Oilers 15 Grade A scoring chances, earning a pair of assists to stretch his league leading totals to 21 apples and 30 points. He also kept a clean sheet at the defensive end, as Edmonton outshot Winnipeg 20-7 during his 24 minutes at even strength. Drew a penalty and could have drawn another seconds later. Got the better of Pionk in a heavy open-ice collision, and later mashed another Jets defender with a hard hit. Came within an ace of tying the game with a minute to go with a nifty move out of the corner and drive to the net front. His 5/12=42% on the dot was about the only item worthy of (very mild) criticism; the Oilers will win many more games than they lose on nights that McDavid plays at this level.

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Canucks tie it late, beat Canadiens in shootout – TSN

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VANCOUVER — Bo Horvat scored in the shootout Monday, giving the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

The Canucks captain was the lone player to beat Carey Price in the shootout, sending a wrist shot past the Canadiens goalie and into the top-left corner of the net.

The Habs (11-6-7) nearly took two points in regulation after getting a power-play tally from Jeff Petry early in the first period.

Vancouver’s Adam Gaudette forced extra time, scoring with 40.5 seconds left on the game clock. Horvat registered an assist on the goal.

Price had 28 saves for the Canadiens and Thatcher Demko stopped 29 shots for the Canucks (12-15-2).

The result extends Vancouver’s win streak to three games.

Brock Boeser nearly eked out a win for the Canucks in extra time but Price stretched out the length of his crease to make a glove save and force the shootout.

Gaudette’s goal 19:19 into the third ensured overtime on Monday.

He ripped a shot from the left face-off dot, ringing it off the post and in to knot the score with his third goal of the season.

Vancouver pulled Demko with 1:20 left on the clock in a bid to net the equalizer, and nearly took its second too-many-men penalty of the night in the process. Horvat jumped over the boards before the officials noticed the errant forward.

A sloppy line change proved costly for the Canucks early in Monday’s game.

Vancouver was called for too-many men, giving Montreal a power play and Petry capitalized, using a screen by Corey Perry in front of the net to sneak a long shot past Demko and open the scoring 4:37 in.

The Habs were 1-for-2 with the man advantage. Vancouver failed to convert on three power plays, despite getting a minute and 25 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey midway through the first period.

Tyler Toffoli nearly gave Montreal a two-goal lead early in the second, firing a pair of slap shots at Demko.

The Canucks goalie stopped both, but a rebound on the second attempt popped up as he fell back into the net and landed in the corner of the crease, dangerously close to the goal line. Defenceman Tyler Myers swept it out of harm’s way.

Gaudette had two prime chances to even the score for Vancouver in the second.

A wraparound shot from teammate J.T. Miller pinged off Gaudette’s shin and just wide of the post around the eight minute mark. About two minutes later, the Canucks forward blasted a slap shot from the slot, only to see it swallowed up by Price. Gaudette responded by looking skyward.

Moments later, Montreal’s Joel Armia picked the puck off Vancouver defenceman Quinn Hughes in the neutral zone and got a breakaway. Demko got just enough of the ensuing shot to send it careening wide of the net.

The Canucks and Canadiens will battle again in Vancouver on Wednesday.

NOTES: Vancouver defenceman Jordie Benn was injured early in the third period and did not return. … Demko was named the NHL’s second start of the week earlier on Monday. He posted a 3-0-0 record last week with a 1.00 goals-against average and .969 save percentage. … Montreal equipment manager Pierre Gervais worked his 3,000th game. An announcement of the feat elicited stick taps from both teams.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021.

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What made Rheal Cormier one of Canada’s greatest baseball players – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO – Early in the 2000 season, Rheal Cormier and the Boston Red Sox were visiting Jason Dickson and the Anaheim Angels, as they were known then, bringing the New Brunswick pitchers together for the first time.

“The bullpens are stacked (at Angel Stadium), one on top of the other, and that’s where we struck up a conversation through the fence,” recalls Dickson. “I’ll never forget meeting him that first time. I’m the one that probably should have went up to him and introduced myself. I was too nervous to, but he didn’t hesitate to come up and congratulate me on being in the big leagues, ask how my family was doing, ask if I talk to people at home, get into a discussion around New Brunswick and senior baseball and fishing and hunting and all those things that make you a Maritimer. It was just like talking to one of the guys at home.”

Their shared roots made them a rarity in the majors, not only as Canadians, but as two of the three New Brunswick natives at the time enjoying success at the sport’s highest level, along with slugger Matt Stairs of Fredericton.

Cormier, from Cap-Pele, was five years older than Dickson, from Chatham, so the two didn’t cross paths on their way up to the majors. By the time they did meet, Cormier was establishing himself as one of the steadier left-handed relievers in the majors after Tommy John surgery ended his days as a starter, while Dickson was trying to return after a year lost to shoulder surgery.

“You’d hear the stories about Rheal, just like blue-collar work ethic, chopping wood, doing his thing — very grounded with who he was. Just unassuming, kind and generous,” says Dickson, who is now Baseball Canada’s president. “The last time I saw him was at Senior Nationals in Miramichi — I was there for Baseball Canada, and Rheal kind of snuck in late to the game. He wanted to see some people, but no big entry, no big whatever. I gave him a hug, asked him how he was doing, and that was so him, so unassuming. The guys he played with often talked about how hard he worked, didn’t take anything for granted, and I think that sums him up.”

Those are some of the lasting memories of Cormier, who passed away Monday after fighting pancreatic cancer. He was 53.

Quietly, Cormier enjoyed one of the greatest careers by a Canadian in MLB history, with his 683 games second only to Paul Quantrill’s 841 among Canuck hurlers. In 2012, he was inducted to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Cormier posted a 4.03 ERA over 1,221.2 innings while producing 12.8 WAR as calculated by FanGraphs, logging a career-best 186 frames during his first full season in the majors with the 1992 St. Louis Cardinals, who chose him in the sixth round of the 1988 draft.

Trades to Boston in 1995 and then Montreal in 1996 allowed him to log 159.2 innings over 33 games for the 1996 Expos team that went 88-74 and finished second in the National League East. But his elbow blew the next year, Tommy John surgery followed and in 1999 he rejoined the Red Sox, where he transitioned to the bullpen and posted a 3.69 ERA in 63.1 innings.

During the ’99 playoffs, he logged 7.2 innings over six appearances without allowing a run.

After the 2000 season, Cormier joined the Philadelphia Phillies, with whom he logged a 3.62 ERA over 363 games until a 2006 deadline deal sent him to the Cincinnati Reds, where his performance dipped. In May 2007, the Reds released him after just six appearances, though he joined Atlanta on a minor-league deal afterwards, and finished his professional career with five games for triple-A Richmond.

And though his MLB days were done, Cormier did pitch for Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a full-circle achievement after being on the 1988 team at the Seoul Games when baseball was a demonstration sport. Cormier also represented Canada at the 1987 Pan Am Games and Intercontinental Cup, and 2006 World Baseball Classic.

“Rheal probably doesn’t get as much credit as he should,” says Dickson. “I always go to the different websites and pull up Rheal’s stats to show people, and they’re shocked to see how long he played and how well he did it. That’s just him, just kind of flying under the radar.”

Cormier is survived by his wife, Lucienne, and two children, Justin and Morgan.

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Gushue Falls to 2-1: Smith Makes Shot of the Tournament – VOCM

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It was a classic matchup at the Tim Hortons Brier last night between defending champ Brad Gushue and former champ Kevin Koe.

They were tied in the eighth end but Koe eventually put it away 9-7 to remain undefeated.

Gushue, whose next match comes tonight against Saskatchewan, falls to 2-1.

Greg Smith, representing NL, dropped to 0-4 after an 11-4 loss to Nova Scotia.

Down 7-1 and nothing to lose, Smith made the shot of the tournament in what TSN is calling the “Rock Around the Clock.” Smith plays tonight against winless PEI.

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