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Oilers take a 4-1 lead and lose 5-4 to Canucks in Game 1

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The Edmonton Oilers jumped out to a 4-1 lead on Wednesday night to give the hometown Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 victory and a 1-0 lead in the series.

It was one of the poorest forms of goalkeeping you will see between two teams in the same match. And the penalties were decidedly one-sided.

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But while the Oilers came out of the gate very well, they went more than 22 minutes without a shot on net.

The Canucks, on the other hand, were smart enough to keep putting pucks on net.

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Here’s the story of the tape…

Edmonton Oilers player rankings

STUART SKINNER. 3. It started so well. Made a huge save on a Garland breakaway, Skinner and blocker kept the score at 1-0 at that point. He also managed to get his blocker and hold on to a dangerous Hronek attempt later in the frame. It looked like he was having trouble locating the puck behind him at 2-1. Received a game penalty for delay killing his friends. He managed a hard shot from Lindholm, which was fired straight out of the hashers. Fortunately, the 4-2 bounced back via his stick from a shot below the goal line. Nice save on a wrist shot by Lindholm. The 4-3 deflected above his elbow via a nice deflection but from a bad angle. The 4-4 went through a self-imposed screen, but no Vancouver traffic in front. The 5-4 was a softie, Skinner fooled himself with the fake shot and then beat the 5-hole. Stopping 19/24 won’t get you there.

CONNOR McDAVID. 5. I saw the Canucks change and quickly shot a puck into a few sets of legs, drawing a PP. No assist was provided on the ensuing man advantage, but also for a significant portion of that sequence, earning the first goal of the series. Secondary assist on the 4-1. Nice 3rd Backcheck period. It looked like there was a breakaway early in the 3rd but lost the handle. Played a smart game, but didn’t look McDavid-like. Held shotless after the season for the first time in his career.

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MATTIAS JANMARK. 5. Diligent on a 1st line roll. An excellent steal & lap plus a tricky wrap-around attempt on the 2NL Period PK. An excellent play on the blueline and flawless on the 3rd Period PK. Great on the penalty kill.

ZACH HYMAN. 7. Shoot home a 1-timer for the 1-0 on the opening power play, only :40 in this matchup. Also scored the opener in Game 1 of the LA series. Big hit for Hughes against the sideboards. Retrieved the puck hard from behind the net and lifted a backhand high onto Silov’s chest. Being managed 2NL of the match after a shot attempt that went through Silov’s 5-hole via a defender’s stick, making it 4-1. 4 shots. An extremely rare turnover from this player, who coughed up the puck along the wall on the 4-2 sequence.

DARNELL NURSE. 2. Bad night for this pairing. Had his man played at 2-1. Neither he nor Ceci were able to get sticks on the puck after Hyman’s turnover, leading to the favorable deflection of Skinner’s stick on the 4-2. A big shot block on Boeser to keep the score at 4-2 late in the 2NL. Beaten on the outside at 5-4, although he pushed his man so wide that the resulting shot came from a terrible angle. Major dangers 0-6 5v5. -3.

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CODY CECI. 2. Slow to recognize the developing game and his man at 1-0. He tipped away a dangerous puck, followed the play on the ice and hit home a shot off a shaky-looking Vancouver goalie to make it 3-1. Absolutely crushed 5v5, with High Dangers an ugly 0-6. -3.

LEON DRAISAITL. 8. Dominant 1st Period of time. Showed great patience with the puck before sending it to Nugent-Hopkins, whose pass to Hyman made it 1-0. Retook that attempt with another collected look at the ice surface before feeding a triggering Ekholm for the 2-0. Lost the draw at 2-1. Disappeared in the room halfway through 2NL after a check from Myers that looked clean but seemed to hit Leon awkwardly in the back. Returned for the third and took it out even though it was clearly a pint. Won 2 draws and had a shot that pulled the goalkeeper (and apparently his back). Oilers fans should hope his injury heals quickly. It was reported as “cramps” after the match.

RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS. 7. Quick pass from the crease to Hyman at the side of the net for the opening count. Great interception and clear on a 2NL Period PK. Another zero on the next PK. Secondary assist on the 3-1. Hit the post with the score 4-2, and the Canucks slid it across the ice for the 4-3. Shot the puck straight through Silovs’ legs, but McDavid didn’t see the pass wide of what would have been a wide open net. Was very good.

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EVANDER KANE. 5. Zone entry on the 2-0. Landed a heavy blow on Hughes in the end boards. A 2NL Period giveaway when he was the last man back, but his friends saved him. Good 3rd Period recording. 4 hits. He fought with the puck a little bit in his own zone.

MATTIAS EKHOLM. 8. Hammered a hard blow off Silov’s shoulder early in the 1st but didn’t miss this next attempt, a drive-off from a Draisaitl feed that found the net for the 2-0. Excellent interception and icing on the 3rd Period PK. 5v5 CF 16-8, 67%. Big dangers 6-2 5v5. Among the Oilers’ top three players in Game 1. +2 in a 5-4 loss.

EVAN BOUCHARD. 5. Two failed zones in his own end, late in the 1st, both with full control of the puck, led to an extended 90-second shift in the Oilers’ own zone. Nice job walking with the puck along the Vancouver Blueline. Primary assist on the 4-1. HDSCs 4-2 in 5v5.

RYAN McLEOD. 5. Started slow, but picked up as the night went on. Contributed to a good zone clear on the 2NL period PK. He broke it to erase a potential icing on the cake against Edmonton in the 2NL. His pass to Nugent-Hopkins hit the post. 67% on draws.

DYLAN HOLLOWAY. 5. One of the most consistent Oilers on the night. He couldn’t quite get a pass from McDavid as he shot to the high slot in the 1st. Good shot in the 2NL. Effective on the pre-check. Called for a 3rd Period trip. Credited with 7 hits to easily lead the team.

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COREY PERRY. 4. Covered two men and got away with a dangerous backhand in the 2NL. Followed by a heavy body on Soucey. Part of the disruption in front of his own net on the 4-4.

BRETT KULAK. 4. The better of the 2 men on this pairing. Kulak stood passively in front of his man at the 4-4. Big dangers 5v5 0-2.

VINCENT DESHARNAIS. 3. Very clear on a 2NL Period PK. Better door than a window on the 4-4. HDSCs 0-4

DERK RIAN. 5. Good play in the neutral zone, which earned him an assist on the Ceci goal. One of only two Oilers running >50% on the spot.

WARREN FOEGELE. 5. A steal and a rag that caused more Canucks PP time to be wasted. 3 hits. 5v5 CF 11-5, 69%. Hurried.

CONNOR BROWN. 4. His first postseason game since April 2019 (Leafs). Whistled for a Canucks-friendly holding call at the slightest tug on Quinn Hughes’ jersey.

Find me on Threads @kleavins, on Instagram at LeavinsOnHockey, Mastodon at [email protected] and X @KurtLeavins. No AI was used in the composition of this article.

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