Player Classes: Leafs give Oilers hard lesson in modern NHL hockey


The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Edmonton Oilers 6-1, giving Edmonton a lesson in how the modern NHL game is played.

And it is not played by the slow, slow and slow who have no ability. At least it is not played that way successfully. However, this is what the Oilers have an abundant supply now.

It is not a recipe for victory. It's not a recipe for making the playoffs. This will lead to more of the same.

Connor McDavid, 3. He could never go in this game, even if he expected so much of it. A game as quiet as I saw it from McDavid. The Leafs put John Tavares in his place, instead of Nazem Kadri, but Tavares did the shadow work as well as Kadri does.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 4. He gets a bonus mark for a goal but otherwise a bad game from RNH, which could gather little in support of McDavid. It was part of the sequence of pains in Toronto's fifth goal when he and other PKers left work.

Sam Gagner, 3. I barely noticed him outside.

Leon Draisaitl, 6. Scored a brilliant goal. Burned by Patrick Marleau at the opening of Toronto, foreshadowing what was to come in this game.

Tobias Rieder, 4. He had two Grau A shots on goal. He always hurries, but almost never seems dangerous in attack. Maybe it's time to give Cooper Marody a try instead.

Alex Chiasson, 3. Slow, slow, slow, and he was not physical in this game either. Games like this remind us why he was available for an INPI last September.

Zack Kassian, 4. He made little on the ice, although he took the goalkeeper in the RNH goal.

Brad Malone, 3. Slow, Slow, Slow Oilers need more skill in the line-up and Malone is a great choice to be replaced.

Kyle Brodziak, 3. Slowly, slowly, slowly Only one victory in 11 clashes, which is supposedly a force. He's not doing anything worth standing in line.

Colby's Cave, 7. It is showing the right combination of intelligence, skill and burning desire at the moment. It took a line that really gave Leafs some problems. He came out of two scoring chances.

Milan Lucic, 7. He found some chemistry with Cave and Currie. Please keep this line together. Lucic is working hard, playing hard and making plays, at least in this more limited role.

Josh Currie, 7. He is like Cave, a small professional player with a little skill, a little determination and a lot to prove. In other words, just the kind of player you want on your fourth line. Another good game with good results, although not marked in this.

Edmonton Oilers center, Connor McDavid (97), faces Toronto's Maple Leafs center, Auston Matthews (34), during the first period of the NHL in Toronto on Wednesday, February 27, 2019.

Nathan Denette /

The Canadian Press

Oscar Klefbom, 2. He fought in the defensive zone coverage the whole game, making six big mistakes in the chances of scoring Grade A, three on the same level and three shorthanded. It became weak, reads the whole game and was not strong on the disc.

Adam Larsson, 3. His move was almost as erratic as Klefbom's.

Andrej Sekera, 6. A quiet game where I only noticed him a few times when he made nice passes. Continue to pass this last test of return.

Matt Benning, 4. It was caught as being slow to net in the third goal of the Leafs. It was his only big mistake in a chance to score Grade A, but it was a big one and a dagger.

Kris Russell, 3. He and the nurse struggled to move the record all night.

Nurse Darnell, 3. It lost a battle in the crease in the first goal of Toronto, but that was mainly in Koskinen, that lost control of the initial shot. He and Russell are not doing this now, since neither of them is strong enough to lead the duo.

Mikko Koskinen, 3. He missed some goals against and failed to make many great defenses. Not his night.

Anthony Stollarz, 4. All right, but we're going on some goals.

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