Jesse Puljujarvi finds the vary because the Edmonton Oilers to Ottawa 4-2: Sport Grades

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Kurt Leavens

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02/03/2021February 3, 20217 minutes read 6 comments Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi, 13, celebrates a goal with William Lagesson, 84, during NHL first period action at Rogers Place, Edmonton on Tuesday, February 2, 2021. Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi, 13, celebrates a goal with William Lagesson, 84, during NHL first period action at Rogers Place, Edmonton on Tuesday, February 2, 2021. Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postal media

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The Edmonton Oilers moved up to 6 and 6 on Tuesday with a convincing 4-2 win over Ottawa.

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The score and the shot clock flattered the Senators when the Oilers sailed into an early and comfortable first period with a 3-0 lead. Edmonton then delivered a much better defensive performance (including a perfect 5v5 penalty kill, only 3 shots on the net) to seal the win.

But while both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl extended their points streaks, it was 2 of the Oilers’ youngest players who impressed the most that evening … Jesse Puljujarvi and Evan Bouchard.

Here is the story of the tape.

Edmonton Oilers playing qualities

MIKKO KOSKINES. 7. Koskinen stopped 23 of 25 and none of the pucks that beat him were on the goalkeeper at all. Koskinen’s best save was Evgenii Dadanov at the beginning of the second. But he also made 2 other very nice saves towards the end of the game, one against Tim Stutzle in the second, and another against a Nick Paul backhand in the third. At no time did the great Finn appear absent-minded or exhausted in his fold. The rest probably did him good.

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CONNOR McDAVID. 7. McDavid now has 19 points in his last 8 games and 6 multi-point games. The first helper was an assist on a nice pass to Barrie, who fed him to Nurse at 1-0, the second a nice pass in the neutral zone, which Puljujarvi let go of at the break buried by Jesse. Most players who got 2 assists in one game would get a Game Star. But the younger guns stole a bit of the limelight tonight. But McDavid was good. Once again.

RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS. 5. A solid defense, because Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ended the night with +2. An effective 3:08 shorthanded. Set up Barrie for a solid first period chance. Easily won punches for and against while on the ice 20-9, 69% at Even’s. But he didn’t take his own recording.

JESSE PULJUJARVI. 8. A great game in attack. Puljujarvi’s 1st goal of the evening (and the season) was a real beauty. After receiving a neutral zone feed from McDavid, Jesse went hard on the net and stopped on his own rebound, then finished with a nifty backhand-to-forehand deke to make it 2-0. His second goal was a sweet tip on a point shot by Evan Bouchard. Part of a nice 3-way game between him, McDavid and Bouchard that I’ll tell you about a little later. Made a late turnover in the 2nd period but, to his credit, cleared the zone on the second attempt. An excellent backcheck deep in its own zone in 3rd place. Awarded the first star of the game and rightly so.

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DARNELL NURSE. 6. Opened the scoring with a rocket from the point on a McDavid and Barrie setup. A couple of key zone clears with Yamamoto in the penalty area in the 1. A great section and zone clear at the start of the 2. A 5 alarm giveaway at the start of the 3rd Made up for that with an excellent zone exit under all possible constraints at the end of the 3rd. Place. 4 shots and 2 hits. Led the team at 11:36 p.m. Solid effort.

TYSON BARRIE. 7. This is much, much closer to the D-man the Oilers thought they were signing. Barrie shot the puck (5 shots) all night, starting with an early setup from McDavid. The sequence started at the 1st goal of Puljujarvi with a headman pass on 97. And was the decoy who went into the net on the gate of Draisaitl. First period shot block. Named the 2nd star of the game. On the way in the right direction.

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LEON DRAISAITL. 6. Extended his point streak to 8 games with a wide post wristler past an over-engaged Ottawa goalkeeper who was looking for a pass the whole time. Fed Barrie for a good look in the second period. Set up nurse for a dangerous third period opportunity. 4 shots on the net, 50/50 on his draw.

DOMENIK KAHUN. 4. 1 shot, 1 block, a turnover in the 3rd period was one of 2 at night. That’s not much besides the reigning Hart Trophy winner.

KAILER YAMAMOTO. 4. His quietest game this year. 0 shots. And he brought his club to the PK twice with avoidable penalties. Lost the chances for and against the fight pretty convincingly on the ice.

KRIS RUSSELL. 7. Probably Kris Russell’s best game of the year so far, as the vet accompanied young Evan Bouchard through the evening. Shot on the PK with a stellar 3:43. And tore his ass off skillfully to end a dangerous prison break led by Brady Tkachuk. Fed Bouchard to start the sequence that ended in the 4-0. An effective rush in the 2nd period ended with a shot on the net. Really good possession numbers on the ice, which isn’t always his forte.

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EVAN BOUCHARD. 7. A good pinch of the first period. Started the sequence that would eventually lead to the 1-0 with a high flip to a hard-charging McDavid through the neutral zone. Earned his first NHL career assist on a snap from the point Jesse Puljujarvi tapped home. Started a nifty 3-way game with a one-touch pass to McDavid, who did the same to get rid of Puljujarvi on yet another dangerous looking break. A big litter in the 3rd off of a blueline feed from Russell. Nice 3rd period clear. A total of 4 shots. 3rd named star. In my opinion, Bouchard made it difficult for his coach to remove him from the squad.

GAETAN HAAS. 6. I wasn’t sure what his energy level would be his second game on the COVID protocol, but Hate looked good. 5:42 from SHTOI on a blank sheet of PK work. Clever face-off victory in a PC of the 1st period deep in his own zone. Seems to be hoisting his flag on the Oilers Penalty Kill. 4 blocks. Only 47% for face-offs. Will he win the 3C job? Missed a goal by half a second of regular time at the end of the game.

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JOSH ARCHIBALD. 6. Extra effort and sheer will was the main hallmark of Josh Archibald’s game tonight. An excellent hit from the late 2nd period and clear. A big hit for the much taller Erik Gudbranson in 3rd place. 3. Steal and delete period. A perfect 5:42 on the PK, where it really shone. Gives you everything he’s got.

ZACK KASSIAN. 5. Failed to get the puck low on failure in the 1st period. But as the night went on he got a lot stronger as Kassian appeared to have a chip on his shoulder tonight (led the team with 6 hits). A good stick to get around the zone in 3. Got his nose dirty in the middle of close combat in front of the Ottawa bank at the end. If you ask me, that’s a good sign for Kass.

WILLIAM LAGESSON. 6. Advertised as a guy who fights hard in his own zone and lived up to him tonight. A stubborn exit under pressure in the 1. Then he repeated that effort by winning a hard-fought match with Yamamoto in the box when Lagesson helped clear the zone again. One block and +1 in limited work (8:53). But he definitely made the best of it.

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ADAM LARSSON. 6. Fought hard. But even though it wasn’t often easy tonight, the veteran put in a solid performance in 20:22. Larsson had 5 blocks and 3 hits plus an impressive shorthanded of 5:56. A very good 3rd period read and clear. Had a few giveaways too, but there were more good things than bad.

KYLE TURRIS. 3. A very quiet game. A didn’t like the penalty Turris took, but his pals helped him. Has turned a decent 1:23 on the PK. 1 hit. If he’s not careful, he’ll play his way into the press box for a game.

ALEX CHIASSON. 5. Won a crucial puck fight to clear the zone in the 2nd. A third period theft. And the puck was regularly directed towards the opposing net during its 9:51 (CF10-4, 71% EV).

SLATER COOKIE. 4. Played 8:09, and it wasn’t easy for him during that time. Offers a solid D-Zone stick in the 3rd and a couple of shot blocks. But he is “just ok”.

The win pulls the Oilers to a playoff spot, 4th place in the north with 12 points and one game in hand on the Canucks.

Next up? Some rest (12 games in 21 days) and practice in front of the Flames on Saturday.

Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

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