Kuznetsov, Capitals Drill Oilers 5-2

oilers.jpgThe Washington Capitals defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 on Saturday night with two goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov in the third period. Devante Smith-Pelly, Jay Beagle, and Lars Eller also struck for the Capitals, who lost four of their past five going into this game. They went into this contest looking for more secondary scoring and got it. They bounced back from a 6-2 setback against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Braden Holtby made 38 saves for the Capitals. 

The Washington Capitals went into tonight’s contest with a 4-5-1 record on the heels of a 6-2 setback in Vancouver on Thursday and were in desperate need of some points.  The Capitals switched things up on Saturday, most notably moving Devante Smith-Pelly to the second line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin and promoting Jakub Vrana to the top line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. Backstrom returned after missing Thursday’s game in Vancouver with an illness. Brett Connolly did not play due after taking a hard hit from Canucks’ defenseman Erik Gudbranson.  Defenseman Matt Niskanen, forward Andre Burakovsky, and center Tyler Graovac continued to sit due to injuries.

First Period
Scoring: Oilers’ forward Patrick Maroon pounced on a rebound that came off a shot by Connor McDavid. Holtby was out of the crease and Maroon had a wide open net to make it 1-0 Oilers. The goal marked the sixth straight game that the Capitals have allowed the first goal.

Edmonton defenseman Adam Larsson stickhandled through the right circle and used Capitals’ center Jay Beagle as a screen, putting a shot past Holtby to make it 2-0.

Smith-Pelly cut the Oilers’ lead in half off a cross-ice pass from John Carlson. He ripped one from the left circle with 17.6 seconds left to make it 2-1. That was his first goal as a Captial and his fourth point of the season.

John Walton with the call:

The Good: The Capitals scored in the final minute of the period to change the momentum going into the second period. The Capitals blocked five shots in the first 20 minutes and led in hits 10-9. Lars Eller had five of the team’s 12 shots in only 6:03 worth of ice time.

The Bad: The Capitals gave up 16 shots in the first frame.

The Ugly: Fresh off his first NHL call-up in two seasons yesterday, Anthony Peluso took two penalties. The refs blew an easy too-many-men penalty against the Oilers.

Second Period
Scoring: Lars Eller blasted a feed from Madison Bowey to the top left corner behind Cam Talbot for his first of the season to tie the game at two. Eller had a great first half of the game and he and the Caps got rewarded. Bowey picked up his second assist in as many games.

John Walton with the call:

The Good: The Capitals are getting the secondary scoring they have been desperate for. The Capitals played most of the period in the Oilers’ end and have 12 blocked shots through two. John Carlson was everywhere, jumping into the play in the offensive zone and picking up an assist and three shots on goal so far. The Capitals had a good penalty kill when Lars Eller got called for delay of game. The Caps definitely had the momentum going their way and the Oilers seemed to be back on their heels for much of the period.

The Bad: The Capitals got crushed at the faceoff dot 64%-36% and have allowed 29 shots on goal through two periods of play.

The Ugly: Nada.

Third Period
Scoring: Evgeny Kuznetsov struck 30 seconds in to take the 3-2 lead for the Capitals. He tipped in Alex Ovechkin’s shot for his second goal in as many games. Ovechkin got his third assist of the night.

John Walton with the call:

Kuznetsov struck again dangling past defenseman Adam Larsson and two other Oilers’ players and beat Talbot with a twister from below the goal line to double up on the Oilers.

Radio call by John Walton:

The Good: The Capitals only allowed two shots on the Oilers’ three power plays. Alex Ovechkin got his third assist of the game on Kuznetsov’s goal. Evgeny Kuznetsov got his third goal in two games.

The Bad: The Capitals only had six shots in the third period.

The Ugly: No offense to Lars Eller, he had a great game. Third penalty of the night.

John Walton puts Edmonton to bed:

Game Stats:

Shots:                            Capitals – 31             Oilers – 40
Blocked Shots:             Capitals – 24             Oilers – 12
Power Play:                  Capitals – 0/0            Oilers – 0/3
Hits:                               Capitals –  26             Oilers – 26

Up Next

The Capitals wrap up their Western Canadian road swing tomorrow night at the Scotia Bank Saddledome in Calgary against the Flames. The Flames are currently 5-6-0 through their first 11 games. Phillipp Grubauer will most likely get the call in net since Braden Holtby started on Saturday. The Caps have struggled this year in games on the back end of back-to-backs, dropping games to Philadelphia and Florida.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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5 Responses to Kuznetsov, Capitals Drill Oilers 5-2

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

    THAT Caps team can win some games.

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