That game would have been 7-2 if not for Skinner. Final Score: 3-2 Capitals
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When the Oilers and Capitals met up a few weeks back, the Caps were missing some key pieces in the lineup and we all thought it was a winnable game for Edmonton. As I’m sure you remember, we were wrong. Long story short, the Oilers came out flat again and they were punished for it, which is why my hope for tonight’s rematch was that the boys would start the game with urgency rather than waiting for an invitation to get their legs moving. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Instead, what we got was a Capitals shooting gallery that put the Oilers back on their heels, and had it not been for Stuart Skinner then we could have easily seen our side down by three or more because he was getting peppered with shots. I know I’m not an NHL coach or anything like that but I’d still suggest that you probably don’t want to give up 24 shots against in the first period alone, ya know? That’s not to say that the Oilers got nothing positive done — they actually had a few high-quality chances, especially near the end of the frame — but they unquestionably had to tighten up what was happening in their own end.
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With the game tied thanks to the fine work of their goaltender, the Oilers had to pick up the pace in the second period and show that they weren’t exactly thrilled about getting shelled on home ice. At the very least, they couldn’t take another half-period to get themselves going. And as hoped, the Oilers gave us a much better first few shifts that included a smattering of shots on net and even a goal by Brett Kulak to grab an almost unexpected lead. With the first goal coming our way, I was hoping that the Oilers would be able to grab some momentum and build on the lead. The Capitals, however, weren’t about to make life so easy and continued on with their unrelenting attack. Undeterred by the Oilers’ goal, the Caps fought their way back into a tie game after a giveaway by the Oilers along the boards led to the equalizer by Lars Eller. From there the seesaw continued with a shorthanded marker by McDavid reclaimed the lead only to give it right back on that same power play with a goal from the slot by TJ Oshie. And after 40 minutes of play, the score was tied once again.
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When the third period began, all I could hope was that Stuart Skinner got good and hydrated during the intermission because I had a feeling his night wasn’t about to get any easier. The good news was that Stu’s brilliance put the Oilers in a position to pick up a point or more provided that they could find a way to actually compete. Put another way, the skaters in blue and orange had to match the effort of their goaltender. Yet, despite the opportunity that lay before them, the Oilers’ struggles in their own zone continued to be a problem and there was no better example than Nic Dowd’s go-ahead goal whose highlight was littered with a laundry list of defensive gaffs. If anything, that play could be used as an example of how the entire evening went as the boys struggled mightily in their own zone, often gifting Washington with all kinds of extra chances and clean looks on Skinner. In the end, the Oilers got the result they deserved and if it wasn’t for Skinner then this game probably would have ended up in embarrassment rather than a one-goal finish. I know that a loss is a loss, but this one hurts a little extra because the Capitals aren’t that good of a hockey team but the Oilers sure made them look like it.
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The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Brett Kulak opened the scoring (1-0) with a blast from the point that made its way through a screen and past Lindgren. Couldn’t have picked a better time for his first of the year, amirite?
  • Connor McDavid restored the lead (2-1) with a shorthanded breakaway goal snipe through the five-hole after he intercepted a pass at his own blue line and was off to the races.
  • Without question, hands down, Stuart Skinner was the best Edmonton Oiler tonight by a country mile. Had it not been for Skinner this game probably would have been over in the first period, but because of his brilliance, his teammates were able to hang around until the very in despite not really deserving to be there. Stu was fantastic in every way and honestly deserved a better result. Skinner finished the game with 47 saves and a .940 save%.
  • After missing nearly a month of action, it was nice to see Kailer Yamamoto back in the lineup. Even though he’s only put up three assists so far this season, he brings a flavour of tenacity to the lineup that’s missing when he’s gone.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

THE FACE PALMERS

  • Lars Eller tied the game (1-1) with a nice deke near the midway point of the second period after a tough giveaway by the Oilers in their own zone on failed breakout gave the Capitals the extra zone time that they needed to capitalize.
  • On the same power play that McDavid got the shortie on, TJ Oshie tied the game for a second time (2-2) with a one-timer from the slot that Skinner had no chance of stopping.
  • Nic Dowd gave the Capitals the lead (3-2) when a snipe from the slot after Alexi Protas found him with a drop pass as he was trailing up ice. Protas dragged all of the Oilers defenders with him, leaving Dowd to bury his wide-open chance.
  • The Oilers haven’t been good a defending in their own zone this year and we all know it, but tonight’s performance was a special brand of awful that I won’t soon forget. This team looks like defence is a chore to them and not something that would be truly beneficial if they committed to it as a group. Truly shocking in the defensive zone.
  • Edmonton lost both ends of the special teams battle as they gave up a power play goal on three shorthanded situations while also getting shutout on their lone power play opportunity.
  • Giving up 24 shots in the first period is indescribably bad. Actually, it didn’t really get much better from there.
  • The NHL site had the Oilers list with 19 giveaways but even that seems generous to me.
  • I dislike Joel Edmundson even more now that I know Zach Hyman was going to miss time because of him, or at least I think it’s because of him.
  • The Oilers got absolutely dummied on the shot clock as they were outshot by a 50-30 margin.
  • I know that winning 48% of the faceoffs isn’t horrible, but it’s still an area that needs improvement.

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD
No Goals Scored
2ND PERIODWSHEDM
1:44
Edmonton
Brett Kulak (1)
Assists: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (16)
0
1
7:25
Washington
Lars Eller (4)
Assists: Sonny Milano (6)
1
1
15:25
Edmonton
Connor McDavid (22) (Shorthanded)
Unassisted
1
2
16:55
Washington
T.J. Oshie (4) (Power Play)
Assists: Dylan Strome (15), Evgeny Kuznetsov (15)
2
2
3RD PERIODWSHEDM
7:13
Washington
Nic Dowd (4)
Assists: Aliaksei Protas (2), Nick Jensen (10)
3
2

#GOODCONTENT

Talk to me, Twitter. Hit me up at @jsbmbaggedmilk and Wanye at @Oilersnation and you could find yourself landing in this very spot. 

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