Player Tracker - Kailer Yamamoto vs Lightning
You voted on it and I deliver. Here is a full breakdown of Kailer Yamamoto's game versus the Tampa Bay Lightning. There is a ton of reading here so for those who may not want to go through everything, I've bolded the shifts I felt were of note. As well, at the very end of the blog I provided a little summary of his game. Enjoy and please write in the comments what you think of this and if you want more of these in the future!
19:20 - Yamamoto skates out on his first shift...aaaaaand it’s an icing
19:11 - Draisaitl wins a faceoff and gets it to RNH who jabs it into the corner. Draisaitl gets in first with Yamamoto right behind him for when the puck is dug out. Puck ends up going to Shattenkirk with Yamamoto pressuring him as he makes a pass. As the puck enters the Oilers zone, Yamamoto gets into a small pushing match with similar small forward Brayden Point.
Darnell Nurse gets possession who passes it to Yamamoto who tips it out of the Oilers zone. Point gets the puck and tries to wind it back into the Oilers zone but Yamamoto picks it off and drop passes to RNH who dumps it into the Lightning zone.
16:00: Some immediate action as Yamamoto gets off the bench and picks up a Caleb Jones pass and starts streaking towards the net. Yamamoto may have been able to get a shot off but Cernak sprawls out taking away the shooting lane. He centres for RNH but the pass is broken up. After this there was some prolonged time in the Oilers end that resulted in one shot for Tampa but nothing else of significance happened. Yamamoto stayed as the man in the slot to take away the point shot during this period while Draisaitl and RNH dug in behind the net.
12:54 - Yamamoto gets on the ice and immediately steals the puck from Cernak in his own end. Yamamoto passes the puck over to a streaking RNH who gets a shot off on Vasilevsky. The play returns to Edmonton’s end with another shot on net and Yamamoto gaining possession of the puck on the right side, dropping the pass to Bear and taking a hit from Johnson. Edmonton enters the zone and Nurse chips into the play and battles along the boards to get the puck to Yamamoto who again under pressure from Johnson is able to make a pass to Draisaitl who tries getting it to RNH but a stick blocks the pass on what would have been a dangerous shot. Yamamoto again battles Johnson and Cernak but comes is able to make a pass to RNH who fires it around to Draisaitl who tries to get the puck to Nurse but is broken up. No shots here but a long sustained pressure thanks to some great fighting along the boards by Yamamoto.
10:21 - Faceoff starts in Tampa’s end as the play then turns to the Oilers end. Draisaitl skates the puck back into the Tampa and tries to go around the defense but Hedman stick checks the puck out. The puck is retreived by Yamamoto who snaps a cross ice pass to Ethan Bear who passes to RNH who sends it around the boards. Shortly after this the puck comes to Adam Larsson who passes to Yamamoto who makes his first give away of the game. Yamamoto tries to chip the puck into the Lightning’s zone but is stolen away by Hedman who passes to Yanni Gourde. Gourde tries to go back to Hedman but Yamamoto recovers and takes the puck away, allowing Edmonton to clear the zone.
7:06 - Sustained pressure early by Tampa but Draisaitl breaks out and is almost able to centre for Yamamoto but is blocked by Cernak. Nothing else of note here.
4:28 - More pressure by Tampa. RNH passes the puck from in front of the net to Yamamoto who makes an underrated play. Hedman is right in front of Yamomoto on the right side at centre ice but Yamamoto takes the pass and banks it off the boards beside him to clear the zone.
58.6 seconds - Faceoff in Tampa end. Yanni Gourde ends up almost getting a breakaway with Point and Palat behind him. Yamamoto does a fantastic job of tying up Palat in front of the net. Draisaitl ends up firing a backhand pass to Yamamoto who muscles off a check from Cernak (Cernak is 6'4 224lbs) and passes to RNH in the Tampa end.
END OF THE FIRST
19:25 - Nothing of note here. Weird play as Tampa entered the Edmonton zone and the puck bounced off of Hedman and went right to Smith.
18:42 PP TIME - With McDavid out, Yamamoto gets a look on the top unit powerplay. It's weird not seeing the PP set up with a streaking McDavid. Instead Klefbom passes the puck to Yamamoto at the Oilers blue line who skates it into the zone and tries to dump it deep but is picked off by the Lightning. Almost a good chance from Chiasson to Yamamoto but it was broken up and sent out. PP really not looking dangerous here.
14:33 - Faceoff in Tampa end but the puck ends up back in Oiler territory. Nice little play by Caleb Jones who flips the puck out and under pressure Yamamoto and Draisaitl are able to push it past Tampa's forwards and back into the zone but a delayed offside forces them back. Yamamoto gets the puck back in the Oilers end and pushes past Victor Hedman to momentarily have the puck in the Lightning zone.
Lengthy shift here as it is 13:03 and Yamamoto is still out. Lightning once again get back to doing their thing in the Oilers zone cycling the puck. Great play by Yamamoto here. Shattenkirk is holding the puck at the line and Yamamoto simply gets his stick momentarily on the puck to push it out, forcing the Lightning to withdraw.
11:03 - GOAL FOR EDMONTON! Caleb Jones picks up his own rebound to snap one past Vasilevsky. Yamamoto was battling in front with Cernak and was checked by #81 for Tampa giving Jones enough space to fire it past.
9:05: Puck enters Tampa end and Luke Schenn and Mitchell Stephens both go after the puck in the boards but Yamamoto pushes past both of them and sticks it over to RNH.
8:15 OILERS PP - Yamamoto keeps the cycle going for a bit here with Draisaitl and then moves in front of the net with Chiasson. No dangerous chances here. Like last PP, Yamamoto stayed out for about a minute before heading to the bench to be replaced by Sam Gagner. Yamamoto was not on the ice for the short handed goal against.
4:38 - Nothing to report here.
2:15 - Again nothing here but Tampa ices the puck so it's a faceoff back in their end.
1:50 - No touches here by Yamamoto but a blantant bad giveaway by Nurse causes the forwards to rush back as Tampa sets off on a two on one.
END OF THE SECOND PERIOD
19:10 - Erik Cernak is behind his own net with Yamamoto defending against him in front. Puck ends up being covered by Smith a few seconds later.
18:50 - Faceoff in Oilers end and a board battle won by Tampa keeps the puck in the Oilers end. Hedman fires a shot on net the Yamamoto deflects with his stick, breaking it in the process. RNH fires a puck up to Yamamoto who misses it as he grabs a new stick from the bench. Point is stripped by Draisaitl who fires a pass to Yamamoto in his feet but he calmly bounces it to his stick and enters the zone. Is checked right after before being able to dump the puck deep and the puck ends up on Yanni Gourde's stick.
Gourde is under all sorts of pressure from Yamamoto and has to retreat to his own zone, where Yamamoto is able to steal the puck away and get a quick pass to Gagner in the slot who is unable to get off a shot.
15:20 - Nevermind.... Yamamoto couldn't get on the ice because Kassian stayed out. Ain't that just a kick in the chest....
14:41 - Yamamoto finally gets out as Draisaitl streaks into the zone. Leon fires a beauty backhand over to Kailer Yamamoto who takes it off his foot to his stick and wires it in front to RNH who would have had an open net tap in if not for a good defensive play by Luke Schenn. Draisaitl gets another great shot off with a strong save by Vasilevsky. Yamamoto was the front of net presence here. Tampa is forced to ice the puck to get some relief.
13:12 - Faceoff just outside the Oilers blueline. Nothing else to report here.
10:46 - Benning passes to Yamamoto in his own zone who gets it to Draisaitl for an easy zone entry. Offside shortly after.
10:27 - Faceoff just outside the Lightning's blueline. Some neutral zone scuffle before it ends up in the Oilers end and is collected by Benning. Outside the Oilers blueline on the right boards Benning tries to chip the puck to Yamamoto who tries to swat it out of the air into the Lightning end but misses.
7:42 - Nothing to report here
5:32 - Faceoff in the Lightning end won by Tampa. Nurse skates the puck back into the zone and behind the net, chipping it back for Yamamoto. Yamo and Drai pass between each other before Yamamoto passes across to Bear who fires a shot towards the net. Yamamoto tries to keep the puck in but is beaten to it by Kevin Shattenkirk. Puck ends up back outside the Tampa zone as Yamamoto collects it and passes back to Larsson to set up once more at the end of his shift.
3:29 - Faceoff in Lightning zone won by Tampa. Cernak tries to fire a cross ice pass to Point which is promptly picked off by Yamamoto who makes a little move to enter the zone past Hedman. Yamamoto drives towards the net and gets the puck to Draisaitl who isn't able to get a shot off under pressure. Yamamoto keeps skating and flys behind the net pressuring Palat who tries to pass to 37 but once again Kailer is flying and collects the puck intended for #37. Yamamoto gets the puck up to Klefbom who fires a shot with some traffic in front that is held by Vasilevsky. This was Yamamoto's best shift of the game
1:56 - EMPTY NET FOR EDMONTON - Faceoff in Tamp end, won by Draisaitl which is fought for on the left boards. Cernak trips Yamamoto here which is missed by the officials. Nothing else happens here for Kailer Yamamoto.
END OF GAME - FINAL SCORE 3-1 TAMPA
If one was just to look at the overall stats, it would have appeared that Yamamoto had a quiet game. The official numbers say Yamamoto had 2 hits, 1 hit taken, no shots, and no takeaways. Watching the game and purely following Kailer Yamamoto, I would argue he was the Oilers most dangerous forward and gave the Tampa Bay Lightning the most grief all game.
Yamamoto saw a healthy dose of the Lightning's top defensive unit of Cernak and Hedman and while the duo did prevent a number of Oilers chances and make things tough in the zone, Yamamoto was able to more than hold his own against the big man and Norris winning defenseman. As noted above, there were a number of plays were Yamamoto was able to pressure Cernak into being forced to chip the puck out or where Yamamoto was able to straight up pick a pass off.
Yamamoto's tenacity has been spoken of plenty already but focusing on it for a full game was a pleasure to watch. In the Tampa end, Yamamoto is always around the puck and you rarely see him stop moving his feet. The shift at 3:29 of the third period which I highlighted as his best shift fully displayed this. Yamamoto starts on the right side, ends up battling behind the net, fights off a defender on the left side and then picks off a pass in the slot. I can't recall the last player who attacked the puck like that on the Oilers.
Yamamoto's role in the defensive end is different. Draisaitl and RNH did more work in the boards, leaving Yamamoto as the guy at centre to try and block or deflect the shot at the point. Defensively Kailer is very sound in this regard. He is incredibly aggressive in the opponents end but plays much more cerebral in his own end, focusing just on getting his stick in the right position.
The only knock I will have on Yamamoto for this game is that he didn't register a single shot. There were a few good opportunities where Yamamoto tried to feed a puck in front of the net to Draisaitl or RNH but those were consistently foiled by Hedman and Cernak. When it was clear that wasn't working, I would have liked to have seen Yamamoto wrist a couple shots on net to challenge Vasilevsky.
All in all this was a great game to watch Kailer Yamamoto and I hope that you all enjoyed this as well!