March 28, 2023
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Oilers 2, Hurricanes 7

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A game after the Edmonton Oilers had perhaps their most inspiring game of the season, they followed up with perhaps their least. With a Carolina Hurricanes team locked off the streets last night, the Oilers appeared to have left their hands, their feet and their heads at the hotel. The end result was an ugly 7-2 loss to the resurgent Hurricanes.

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It was another poor defensive performance for the Oil, who conceded 4 or more goals for the ninth time in 15 games and are now fifth from bottom overall in the league with 3.73 goals conceded per game. Defensively, they had their problems in goal, on the blue line and on offense. They struggled with puck management, they struggled with zone pressure and they struggled with switching. Twice they allowed an ugly one in the last 20 seconds of a third.

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In the words of trainer Jay Woodcroft, “too many self-inflicted wounds”.

Edmonton accumulated just 47 shot attempts in the game, scoring just 22 on target and completely missing the target on 20 of them. For their part, the ‘Canes had 69 attempts with 32 at the net. Our own Class A shot count was 18-14 Carolina (running count), but this game wasn’t that close. 5-on-5 counts of 29-15 (shots) and 17-9 (Grade A shots) were closer to the mark in a contest controlled by the home side. To what degree? Every Oiler skater but one “lost” on ice shot percentage at 5v5, as we’ll detail (briefly) in each player comment.

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#2 Evan Bouchard, 2nd A terrible game that saw Bouchard burned for 6 Class A shots while not contributing at all in the good end. His signature play first came when he failed on two clearing attempts, then allowed Seth Jarvis to get behind him for an open look. Was lost at sea on the 6th Carolina Gate. 31% shot percentage in 5v5.

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#5 Cody Dies, 4. He assisted Campbell in Andrei Svechnikov’s game-changing 3-1 goal, which was deemed the winner. Sure, Campbell should have had it, but better gap control by Ceci could have contained the game in the first place. 33% shot percentage.

#10 Derek Ryan, 4th Victim of a wildly unfair puck over glass call when he knocked the puck out of play instead of shooting it. 2 minutes to play with active stick? That put the Oil 2 men short and ultimately cost them the 2-0 goal. Well run but little produced. 38% shot percentage.

#13 Jesse Puljujarvi, 4th Significantly quieter game than in Tampa, including 0 shots to the net. Contributed to McDavid’s goal by taking defender Jalen Chatfield straight out of the game with a legal pick. 30% shot percentage.

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#14 Devin Shores, 2nd Corresponding Natural statistics trick He was on the ice for 0 high danger chances by the Oilers and 10 for the Hurricanes. For direct contributions to the same, we had it at 0-4. In a revealing sequence, Shore came off the bench to spontaneously join an Oilers siege, only to immediately lose a puck fight to an exhausted opponent, who then cleared the zone and ended the threat. Took a brief shift at 6-2, a brave effort with a predictable outcome. 0% shot percentage.

#18 Zach Hyman, 5th Scored Edmonton’s first goal in usual Hyman fashion, going hard at the net front and catching a deflection. Pokechecked by Carolina’s No. 3 goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov on a clear breakaway. After a terrific 3-way passing game, he seemed to have the top corner of the net to shoot but opted for the extra pass. Nothing egregious on the puck’s defensive side, despite ending the night at -3. 44% shot percentage.

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#22 TysonBarrie, 4th His dive attempt to block a tormund pass ended with him being deflected off his blade, the goalpost and into it. Earned an assist for McDavid’s goal with a clever pass. 39% shot percentage.

#25 Darnell Nurse, 4th Effort good, result bad. 3 shots and 3 blocks to lead D Corps in both detachments, but he too ended up dash-3 on the night. 47% shot percentage.

#26 Mattias Janmark, 4th Took an unnecessary crosscheck penalty on his first shift as an oiler. As one of the extra forwards, he struggled to make a big impression with 0 shot attempts, although he made a delicate cross-pleat pass that RNH couldn’t handle. On the plus side, he was the only oiler not to be on the ice for a clean sheet. 17% shot percentage.

#27 Brett Ear, 3rd Among the offenders were 7 class A shots against 3 of them goals (the third, fourth and sixth). Contributed to McDavid’s mark with good net drive off the puck. 29% shot percentage.

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#28 Ryan Murray, 4th Among those who burned 1 second in mid-frame on the 4-1 goal, effectively putting this one to bed. 22% shot percentage.

#29 Leon Draisaitl, 5th One of the more committed Oilers, he played a 3-heavy physical game while having an ongoing feud with Hurricane’s D-man Jaccob Slavin. Beaten on a cross ice pass to ‘Canes’ powerplay goal (effectively a 5v3). He hit the post with a wicked power play drive and seconds later helped score Hyman’s goal that gave the Oilers (short-lived) hope at 2-1. 40% shot percentage.

#36 Jack Campbell, 3rd He held ground for most of the first period, stopping the first 13 shots he faced, including 7 Class A-type shots. Little chance of the first 2 Carolina counters. But after cutting the lead to 2-1, Oilers was slapped on the next correct shot he faced, Svechnikov’s B-Grade bracelet out of the high slot, which bounced off/through his glove and straight into the net. Just a killer goal that seemed to demoralize his team. Things collapsed after that for the keeper, who allowed 4 more before the end of the night, the last due to a poor clearance that resulted in a giveaway. 32 shots, 25 saves, 0.781 percent save.

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#37 Warren Foegele, 5th Skated hard and purposefully the whole game, which made him a standout that night. Drawn a penalty, another rare feat. 23% shot percentage.

#55 Dylan Holloway, 5th Eventful game. 15:15 played, a career high. Earned a penalty midway through the first when fouled on a breakaway but failed to execute the deke and missed the net with a weak backhand. Had some good offensive zone moments and was a power to find loose pucks and regenerate circulation. Made a critical error in the final moments of the second intercepting a Hyman pass seemingly destined for Draisaitl, then flipped it weakly at the Carolina Blueline and stranded all 3 forwards as the ‘Canes took it the other way took and scored with 1 second on the clock. 53% shooting percentage (9 for, 8 against), the only positive in the whole team.

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#71 Ryan McLeod, 4th He ran well as usual but had a couple of defensive hiccups along the way. Made 15 faceoffs as team leader but only won 3 of them (20%). 25% shot percentage.

#80 Markus Niemelainen, 4th One of only three Oilers (Puljujarvi, Janmark) tied in plus/minus, the tall defender fired a penalty that ultimately resulted in the 2-0 goal. Also had a turnover that led to another Oilers penalty. Only played 8 minutes. 0% shot percentage.

#93 Ryan Nugent Hopkins, 5th Had an early shorthanded break after a nice steal down the boards and managed what Holloway and Hyman couldn’t on similar occasions, a shot in the net. However, he couldn’t beat Kochetkov either. 43% shot percentage.

#97 Connor McDavid, 5th Has his usual goal and assists for the third straight game on this road trip, basically his average of the season given his current league leads of 15 GP, 15-16-31. His third-half goal was a work of art, in which he rounded Calvin de Haan in a 1-on-1 scenario and then lapped a well-placed high glove with a backhand behind Kochetkov. But returned everything on the defensive side of the puck. Had a rough defensive sequence with the score 0-0 late in the first with a weak backcheck leading to a 5 alarm chance. A few minutes later he lost a puck fight against Teuvo Teravainen at the decisive opening goal. Failed to contain Jordan Martinook at 5-2. 27% shot percentage.

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Follow me on Twitter @Bruce McCurdy

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