How many times this season have the Oilers come out with a loss in a game that they should have won? They must lead the league in moral victories, but unfortunately, those don’t count in the standings.
This is 45 unedited seconds from the EDM-WSH game tonight. Holtby makes 10 minutes worth of saves. pic.twitter.com/aCUD9Sjt5T— InGoal Magazine (@InGoalMedia) November 13, 2017
This clip nicely sums up what happened last night. The Oilers peppered a lot of shots on goal, but Braden Holtby was a damn rock in net. The Capitals looked completely hopeless on this sequence as the Oilers continued to assert pressure. They all owe Holtby dinner after this one.
Crash and bang! JJ gets the Oilers on the board with his first goal of the season! pic.twitter.com/EhZ35ePn7G— OilersNation.com (@OilersNation) November 13, 2017
The Oilers finally opened the scoring a few minutes into the third period off of a gritty goal from the third line. Iiro Pakarainen tried a wrap around, shoved the puck out front, and JJ Khaira buried his first goal of the season on the rebound.
Washington quickly answered back with a nice goal from Dmitry Orlov. He and Tom Wilson executed an excellent give-and-go that started from the blueline and left the skilled defender with a shot from a place he isn’t going to miss. As good as Khaira was on the earlier goal, he got completely walked by Orlov here.
No penalty on Orlov for the slash on McDavid, but RNH gets one for, uh, that. pic.twitter.com/hjhj5WbsAF— OilersNation.com (@OilersNation) November 13, 2017
In overtime, Connor McDavid stripped Orlov of the puck and got a partial breakaway that was broken up on the backcheck. Then, soon after, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was given a penalty for a virtually identical defensive play on John Carlson. I don’t know if I would have called Orlov for the play on McDavid, but the lack of consistency is infuriating.
That was a KLEF BOMB (but it was called back for goalie interference) pic.twitter.com/HIA8sOqW8J— OilersNation.com (@OilersNation) November 13, 2017
Sticking with frustrating calls, the Oilers appeared to get on the scoreboard in the first period when Milan Lucic redirected a shot from Oscar Klefbom past Holtby, but the goal was called back due to goalie interference. RNH skated by Holtby, tapped him with his skate, and he collapsed on the ice. After this play, every Oilers fan was wondering where the call was back in the playoffs against Anaheim.
Like I said, the Oilers really got robbed by Holtby here. At even strength, Edmonton had 62 shot attempts and 14 high danger chances to Washington’s 28 and six. The Capitals offence was barely able to get anything going while at even strength and the Oilers ultimately dictated the play. I’ve seen a few people suggest Todd McLellan has the Oilers playing a style that looks good for Corsi but not for scoring goals. I think this game, where the Oilers had way more chances down low than the Capitals, suggests otherwise.
- On the bright side, the special teams were better last night. Edmonton killed both of the power plays Washington had (all three, I guess if you count the 10 second overtime power play) which is a plus considering the Capitals have a fairly lethal attack with the man advantage. The Oilers didn’t get a single chance on the power play, which is sort of shocking considering they controlled the play at even strength and had the Capitals chasing for most of the game. Last season, the Oilers were a good-not-great team at scoring at even strength and relied quite a bit on special teams to score goals. This season, they rank dead last in the league with 47 power play opportunities through 17 games.
- Jesse Puljujarvi had a strong showing in both games this weekend. He adds an element of speed and a nose for the net to the RNH and Lucic line that they didn’t have before. Though his five points in 10 games with Bakersfield is far from spectacular, it had been reported that Puljujarvi was getting a lot of shots on net in the AHL. Based on the way he’s played in his two game showing so far, you can definitely see that he’s driving offence. He looks a lot stronger and more confident than he did last season.
- I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but Darnell Nurse has continued to look better game in, game out. Last night, he was easily Edmonton’s No. 1 defenceman, logging a team-leading 25:46 of ice time in all situations. At even strength, he was on the ice for 23 shot attempts for and only seven against. He looks a lot more calm than in previous years. Before, he would try to force a play, make a big hit or pinch that would leave him out of position, but now he’s waiting for the play to come to him and things are working better because of it.
- The Oilers ended up going 2-1-1 on their four-game Eastern road trip, which is solid, but they’re going to have to play at a better pace in order to climb back up the standings. They’re only four points out of a playoff spot as of right now, but jumping over six teams in a league where three-point games are so common isn’t easy.
Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 11/12/2017, 7:15pm MST