Instant Reaction: Edmonton Oilers down Capitals 7-2 in high-scoring affair

Edmonton Oilers Connor Brown
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
3 months ago
What. A. Game. The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Washington Capitals 7-2 for their second consecutive win. They now have a 40-21-3 record to bring them to 83 points, six ahead of the Los Angeles Kings and nine behind the Vancouver Canucks.
The Oilers were the beneficiary of two early high sticking calls, one a double minor and the other a regular minor. It took a little while to get going on the first one, but Leon Draisaitl, on his third attempt, finally buried the one-timer from his spot to give the Oilers the lead. Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins picked up the assists.
It took the Oilers much less time to capitalize on the other power play, as the Capitals just allowed McDavid to skate down in the slot and bury it for his 25th of the season. Draisaitl and Evan Bouchard picked up the assists. This was Draisaitl’s 489th assist, tying Glenn Anderson for the fifth-most in franchise history.
Nearly halfway through the first period, the Oilers had nine shots to nothing, but that changed as the puck was ushered into the half boards, where Ivan Miroshnichenko turned around, ripped it, and beat Stuart Skinner on the first shot he faced. It kind of reminds me of a goal Iiro Pakarinen scored back in the 2017-18 season.
The other Connor McSomething scored to tie the game, as an Alex Ovechkin shot was blocked, with the puck bouncing to Connor McMichael, who tucked it in. It was just the Capitals’ second shot of the game and an unfortunate play, but this was the last time they’d beat Skinner.
Ovechkin, who I wrote about earlier Wednesday, is looking to break Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record. He had a wonderful chance to do so alone on the doorstep, but Skinner dove across and robbed him, which wasn’t the only time on Wednesday evening.
The Oilers regained the lead, as McDavid found Zach Hyman in front of the net for his 44th goal of the season. It’s just what Hyman does, and somehow he’s getting even better. Brett Kulak picked up the secondary assist.
Fast-forward to nearly the end of the second period, with the Oilers still up 3-2. Nugent-Hopkins picked up an errant Capitals pass, leading to a two-on-one. Nugent-Hopkins, the great teammate he is, passed it over to, you guessed it, Hyman, who buried it for his second goal of the game and his 45th of the season.
Before the end of the second period, the Oilers earned a power play and set up in the zone. After some passing, Bouchard let it rip and it found the back of the net. Originally, the goal was awarded to the defenceman but it was given to Hyman towards the end of the game for the hats to rain down. This was his second natural hat trick of the season, and his fourth hat trick in total. Moreover, Draisaitl picked up an assist to take sole possession of fifth-place in Oilers franchise history.
The goal-scoring continued in the third period, as Warren Foegele scored his 15th goal on a fantastic passing play assisted by Draisaitl and Ryan McLeod. There are a few other notes about this, for starters, look at that stretch by Foegele after he was knocked down. The other is just how much chemistry that line has together, with a great forecheck by McLeod.
Shortly after Edmonton’s sixth goal of the game, it finally happened. Connor Brown found the back of the net for his first goal as an Edmonton Oiler. Say all you want about how he’s played, but he’s given it his all this season, and the Oilers fans in attendance made sure they knew he is appreciated. Hopefully, this will light a fire under his butt to get hot. Evander Kane and Adam Henrique picked up assists on this goal.
Ovechkin had another bid for a goal as the Capitals had a clean odd-man zone entry. The “Great Eight” was found right in front of the net with a slick pass, but once again, Skinner denied him and ended his night with a .920 save percentage despite allowing the first two shots in the net.
Things worth mentioning…
That is a game-of-the-year candidate as it had end-to-end hockey, two massive saves, and a ton of scoring. Connor Brown scoring his first after so many opportunities made it that much better.
Leon Draisaitl picked up four points on the night, while Hyman and McDavid each had three-point nights. Nugent-Hopkins and Evan Bouchard also had two assists. In fact, there were only three forwards who didn’t have a point, the entire fourth line.
Connor McDavid may have picked up three points to move to 106 points, but Nathan MacKinnon scored a goal and an assist to move to 115 points on the year. So he gained one, but still trails MacKinnon by nine points for his sixth Art Ross Trophy.
Up next: The Oilers return to action on Saturday, as they’ll host the Colorado Avalanche. It’s the first time the two teams have met this season, and it’ll be the nightcap game for Hockey Night in Canada.
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