Edmonton Oilers make it (too) interesting by picking up 2 points in 6-5 O/T win over St. Louis

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The Edmonton Oilers picked up 2 essential points in the standings against St. Louis on Friday night in a thrilling 6-5 O/T win over the Blues.

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The Oilers “made it interesting,” giving a 4-1, 5-3 lead to a St. Louis team that certainly didn’t go easy. But the best Oilers players were the best players on the ice.

And while it was a messy affair that no coach will approve of, all that matters in the end is the “W.” Edmonton has now recorded one in each of its last 9 home games… a franchise record.

Here’s the story of the band…

Edmonton Oilers Player Ratings

MICHAEL SMITH. 6. In the standings, all that really mattered in Mike Smith’s game at the end of the night was that huge O/T save on a Nick Leddy backhand. His teammates quickly put the puck back on the ice for the 6-5 winner. A good 1st Downtime on Buchnevich. A big 2n/a Vintage stuff on Perron. Bad feeling on Schenn’s 4-3 goal which sailed just between his legs. But then Smith made up for it by getting a pad on another from Buchnevich just before his comrades made it 5-3. Huge denial on a dangerous 3rd period 1 timer from O’Reilly. Started the streak with an assist to Ceci on the 5-3. Stopped only 27 out of 32. Was there when it really mattered. But 5 GA per game is not sustainable.

CONNOR McDAVID. 9. Felt like McDavid had the puck all night. Scored the winner in O/T by charging hard towards the net on a 2-on-1, then subtly deflecting Husso. Scored earlier in the game off a rebound from Kane on his backhand to make it 4-1 and chase Binnington away. Won 2n/a Star honors. His 11 (!) shots were a career high. Fantastic player.

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EVANDER KANE. 9. Dude, is he still on a roll. Scored a shorty on a 5-hole backhand after forcing a turnover to make it 3-1. Knocked down a puck then funneled the puck to the slot where a waiting McDavid laid down the rebound for the 4-1. His shot from the high slot turned into a juicy rebound for Nurse on the 5-3. Named Game 1st Star. Transformed the ranks of Oilers forwards.

JESSE PULJUJARVI. 6. His physical play in the O zone helped lead to 4-1. Played a solid defensive game and put his size to good use as well, with 2 hits and a number of other physical plays. Not rewarded with points but stable and efficient.

NURSE DARNELL. 6. Huge 5-3 goal, where Nurse spotted room in the RHS, dragged the puck, gave Kane then returned a backhand on a generous rebound. Le, grabbed a rebound and passed it to Draisaitl for the O/T winner. I felt he gave up too much of a 1-1 lead. He couldn’t reverse a pass on the 4-2. Exit 2n/a best on the St. Louis cycle on the 5-5. His 22:03 is a far cry from his typical TOI under Dave Tippett.

Cody THIS. 6. A second assist on the 5-3. Also a helper on the Kane shorty. And was a net positive in High Danger Scoring Chances For/Against. Failed to tie his man’s stick on goal 5-5.

LEON DRAISAITL. 6. Set the winning goal by taming a bouncing puck and then recovering a perfect pass to her buddy Connor who sent it home. Won his other assist on the 1-0 with a takeaway then a Yamamoto dish. Important part of the streak in the Saint-Louis final although it did not win an apple on the 2-1. Impossible to contain the cycle of the Blues on 5-5. Just 39% on point.

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ZACH HYMAN. 8. Scored his career high 23rd and 24and of the season in the 1st Period. The first was a finish on a Draisaitl/Yamamoto mount, the 2n/a was Hyman’s patented power-wrap-around after stripping Thomas of the puck. As his ice time dwindled, his game took a step forward. Was an absolute handful for opposition defenders tonight. The game is 3rd Star.

KAILER YAMAMOTO. 7. A nice little pass from Yamamoto to Hyman on the 1-0. Contributed to the pressure from the O zone on the 2-1. A breakout pass to shorthanded Kane made it 3-1. Added 2 hits including an impressive one on Buchnevich, who has a 5 inch height advantage over Yammo. A game rooster.

DUNCAN-KEITH. 7. A constant influence on this 2n/a pairing, as Keith and Bouchard ended the match with their heads above water. The veteran was certainly the most reliable defender in the 2. Unable to reverse a pass in a rapidly developing 2v1 that resulted in the 4-3. But it was a Smith-stoppable puck. 4 hits, 2 blocks.

EVAN BOUCHARD. 5. Ordinary without the puck. Bouchard was beaten to the puck along the boards for the 4-3 but again the goaltender has to have that one. However, the puck moved reasonably well and eventually broke even in 5 on 5 HDSC for/against.

RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS. 5. A cut below his best. An O-Zone turnover on the 4-2. 0 points, 0 shots, only 27% from the circle. Although I also noted 4-5 intoxicating defensive plays. After all, when you’re not scoring, what else are you doing to help your team win? The Nuge also had a clean sheet in 2:02 of PK work.

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DERICK BRASSARD. 5. Veteran regular play. A zone D smart stick at the start of the 1st. Won 3 of 4 draws. 4 strokes.

ZACK KASSIAN. 5. Not super sharp but showed up physically, this is where you always want Kassian’s game to start. Led both teams with 7 hits.

TYSON BARRIE. 5. High level game. Barrie made excellent zone hold on the 4-1, getting an assist. And made a clutch stick to break up an impending 4-on-2 Blues in the 2n/a Framework. Beaten flush with the puck then late return to the slot to cover his man on the 4-2. Then beat right to his own blue line on the 5-4.

BRETT KOULAK. 5. Absorbed some crushing blows in this one, the heaviest of the 2n/a Period by Bortuzzo. But quietly effective. +2 in 6:32 p.m. Unlucky to have deflected the puck off his skate on the 5-4.

RYAN McLEOD. 5. Young Ryan McLeod at 5-on-5 struggled. But he was very effective in 3h04 of PK time, the difference between a “4” and a “5” Grade for him. Only 25% on prints. He needs to get his nose dirty.

WARREN FOEGELE. 4. The most effective 5v5 player on this line, which has been disputed, to say the least. But also suffered a bad penalty 200 ‘from his own net.

JOHN ARCHIBALD. 4. Like McLeod, some decent moments on the PK. But otherwise, calm. I wonder if conditioning becomes a factor after a late start to the season?

The Oilers are within a point of the Kings in the Pacific with 83 points, critical since Vegas won for 4and consecutive time, beating Seattle 5-2. Thus, Edmonton maintains a 3-point lead over the Golden Knights… with a game in hand. The Canucks now have 10 fullbacks.

Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

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