The Washington Capitals eked out a rather pedestrian 1-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers Monday night at Verizon Center, improving their record to 14-5-1 . The Oilers put up a much better fight than the previous contest a month ago in Edmonton, and held a slight edge in offensive zone pressures for the entire game. The Capitals Braden Holtby had a great game, with 33 saves for his first shutout of the season. The starting lines for the Capitals:
Brooks Orpik missed his 6th straight game after sustaining a lower body injury in Detroit on November 10th. Andre Burakovsky was a healthy scratch.
While tonight’s win improves the Caps record to 14-5-1, the second best start in franchise history, Trotz proclaimed, “This is not a satisfying win. We were the lesser club. In the last 8-9 games we haven’t been where we need to be”. When asked about Holtby’s play, Trotz stated “He absolutely deserved the shutout. He’s been one of our top players all year. Tonight he was by far our best player. There wasn’t even anybody in the same universe as him.”. For detailed stats and game information, check out the NHL Game Summary and NHL Detailed Stats.
A rather sleepy, scoreless opening frame, with Edmonton having the edge in offensive zone play. The Oilers had the greater number of scoring chances 4-2, and outshot the Caps 13-7 for the period. Tom Wilson was called for the period’s only penalty on an offensive holding call on Darnell Nurse at 15:25. The Caps out-hit the Oilers 13-3 and blocked nine shots in the first period (average 14.6 per game).
The Capitals would get their first power play at 1:53 of the second period. Trotz started the power play with the second unit, in order to rest top-liners just finishing a shift. The power play would ultimately come up empty, once again. The sleepy play continued until the 6:45 mark when Edmonton’s Eric Gryba was called for a tripping penalty on Alex Ovechkin. This power play would also be one of little offensive pressure for the Caps, and would end early on a double-minor high-sticking call on Nicklas Backstrom. The Capitals penalty kill, at 85.2% for the season, would shine once again, killing just under four minutes of the Oilers man-advantage. The Caps have killed 8 of the last 9 penalties over the past five games. The Capitals would pick-up the offensive pressure following the lengthy penalty kill, which started with a great shift by the second line. The second stanza would also end deadlocked at 0-0. The Oilers led 23-15 in SOG.
The scoreless struggle would continue in the third period, with Edmonton continuing their slight edge in offensive zone pressure. The Oilers Nail Yakupov would be called for holding at 5:21, giving the Caps their third power play of the game. Alex Ovechkin would get a couple of decent snap shot chances, but yet again, the power play came up empty. Braden Holtby would come up big on several Oiler chances, keeping the game scoreless late in the contest. Dmitri Orlov would finally get the Caps on the board with a top-corner blast to give the Caps a 1-0 lead at 13:28. Tom Wilson and Brooks Laich would get the assists.
And that’s how this one would end, Caps the victors 1-0.