December 20 2009 12:21AM
Edmonton Oilers: 2
Washington Capitals: 4
I'm honestly not even sure what to say after a game like this one. The Oilers didn't deserve the early lead they jumped out to, but after claiming that 2-0 spot they collapsed in the third, allowing the Capitals to score four unanswered goals. Jeff Deslauriers answered the bell early and struggled a bit at the finish, but this game shouldn't be laid on him.
Outside of Deslauriers, though, there are plenty of perfectly acceptable targets.
This isn't a very good team. Tonight marks the 13th time they've been outshot by 10 or more, something they've only managed to do to an opponent twice this season. Fun side point: this team seems to have become more explosive under Pat Quinn than they were under Craig MaccTavish, but they've also struggled to hang on to leads. Under MacTavish last season, this team won 80.8% of the time when leading after one, and 89.3% of the time when leading after two (both top-10 in the NHL). This season, those numbers are 66.7% and 80.0%.
No positives tonight, no three stars; nothing else. This team is seven points out of the playoffs and one point out of the draft lottery, and they're giving away points to teams playing the second half of back-to-back games. I just don't know that I can scrape for positives when Washington sends out Ovechkin and Co. and the best Edmonton can manage in response is (one-armed) Shawn Horcoff, Patrick O'Sullivan (in a slump to end all slumps) and (NHL rookie) Ryan Stone. Looking for a bonafide checking line, that's the best Quinn can do, and I can't even call him on it because there aren't any other options.
Seriously - look down the roster. There's nobody. Hemsky would help a fair bit, but despite the sheer volume of forwards on the team there isn't anybody proven who can handle a checking role. It's Horcoff, O'Sullivan, rookies, the Ghost of thecaptainethanmoreau, and the faint hope of a healthy Fernando Pisani. In fairness, it's hard to be too irate; it's not like this has been a persistent, nagging problem for the last year and a half or anything.