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The Edmonton Oilers won a great grinder of a -2-1 game over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.

The Bruins and the Oilers battled hard in the first two periods, both sides with great chances to score and some excellent defence. Both goalies, Stuart Skinner and Linus Ullmark, were outstanding. But finally, early in the third, Pavel Zacha solved Skinner with a wicked harpoon of a one-timer.

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It looked like that would be enough for the win before Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl pulled off their magic yet again, scoring with a minute left, then in OT.

In total, Edmonton had 11 Grade A shots, Boston 8, with the subset of most dangerous 5-alarm shots being Oilers four, Bruins three.

Cult of Hockey game grades player grades

Connor McDavid, 9. He did everything, including willing the Oilers to two points.Two assists and a team-leading seven shots. He came out buzzing, launching a trio of tricky shots on net. Kept it up in the second and was unlucky not to get a point or two. He charged hard and drew a penalty late in the third but Edmonton’s energy and execution came up short in that big moment, the team getting off one decent shot in the two minute advantage. A moment later, McD decided to tie it on his own, driving in hard off a faceoff win to set up Draisaitl. Once more in OT he did the same, making up his mind to decide the game, driving hard at the net before throwing it over to Drai to launch his deadly harpoon. Contributions to Grade A Shots (GAS): Even Strength +6/-0; Special Teams +2/-0.

Leon Draisaitl, 8. A strong game and some last minute heroics. Two goals on six shots. He also came out flying, skating and deking well with the puck. He and McD worked the give-and-go for some 5-alarm PP shots early in the second. A moment later he blasted into Marchand with a shoulder. He let in Jake DeBrusk on a break-in chance. But he came up big in hero time, jamming in the game-tieing goal, at least as I saw it, then pounding in the OT winner. ES +5/-1; ST +3/-0.

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Zach Hyman, 6. Not much to report, save for crashing the net on the tie goal. His hard battle drew a penalty early in the second. GAS: ES +1/-0; ST +0/-0.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 7. Some good work on defence, but not much on the attack. He made a huge defensive clearance to thwart a dangerous Boston PP moment early in the second. He dug in hard to stop an empty-net goal, which turned out to be the save of the game. GAS: ES +1/-0; ST +0/-0.

Evander Kane, 4. He battled hard but seemed on the wrong end of it a lot. He got caught wandering in the Red Light Zone as Boston orchestrated a 5-alarm one-timer by Pastrnak in the second. He gave away the puck to Pastrnak late in the second and was lucky not to be penalized on the Boston forward’s break-in. GAS: ES +0/-1; ST +0/-0.

Mattias Janmark, 5. Quiet through two periods. GAS: ES +0/-0; ST +0/-0.

Ryan McLeod, 7. Good game. He and Foegele came out fast and determined, winning most of their battles and creating some good shots. He won a battle in the corner, setting up a dangerous opportunity for Foegele in the first. He had Edmonton’s best chance in the third, a harpoon that missed the target, shooting right through the crease. GAS: ES +0/-0; ST +1/-0.

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Warren Foegele, 7. He did some great work on the PK, first winning the puck, then setting up McLeod for a hard shot on net. GAS: ES +0/-0; ST +1/-0.

Corey Perry, 4. Quiet game at a low speed. He smacked Marchand with a good hit. GAS: ES +0/-0; ST +0/-0.

Connor Brown, 4. He got the first Grade A shot of the game, stuffing a shot on net off a Derek Ryan pass, but then allowed a dangerous shot after getting deked by McAvoy. GAS: ES +0/-0; ST +0/-1.

Dylan Holloway, 5. He and Ceci lost some battles down low, leading to two quick Grade A shots in the second. But he made a sharp pokecheck in the slot to thwart a dangerous Boston moment in the third. GAS: ES +0/-2; ST +0/-0.

Derek Ryan, 7. He made some sharp passes for good shots and was sharp defensively. GAS: ES +1/-0; ST +0/-0.

Evan Bouchard, 7. He moved the puck and defended well. his third period turnover led to a Grade A blast. He was part of the smart and winning play in OT. GAS: ES +4/-2; ST +0/-0.

Mattias Ekholm, 7. Usual solid game. GAS: ES +0/-0; ST +0/-0.

Darnell Nurse, 6. A poor clearance led to a second period Boston Grade A. He deked into the zone and put the puck hard on net, leading up to McLeod’s last moment chance. GAS: ES +0/-1; ST +0/-0.

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Vincent Desharnais, 6. Another hard battler in this one. Solid enough on defence. GAS: ES +1/-2; ST +0/-0.

Cody Ceci, 4.  Lost some battles, leaked a few Grade A shots but battled hard and held his own. Then made a decisive mistake, getting caught up in the n-zone, leading to a Boston 2-on-1 and Zacha’s goal against. GAS: ES +0/-3; ST +0/-0.

Brett Kulak, 6. He blocked a pass, thwarting an early 2-on-1. He made another solid defensive stop in the last seconds of the first. He was unable to cut out the cross-ice pass on Zacha’s goal. GAS: ES +0/-3; ST +0/-0.

Stuart Skinner, 8. Took a hard, high slot shot off his mask early on but his first real test came 13 minutes in, McAvoy’s wrister. He sprawled to stop harpoons from Marchand, then Pastrnak in the second. He solved Jake DeBrusk’s dangerous break-in chance. He was beat clean by Zacha’s deadly one-timer.

At the Cult of Hockey

McCURDY: Why was Gagner waived? 

STAPLES: Posssible Oilers tactics at the trade deadline

STAPLES: Game grades in big win over Penguins

LEAVINS: 9 Things

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