The Edmonton Oilers haven’t had much success in Washington. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the longest serving Oilers player on the roster, has won once in Washington since entering the NHL in 2011/2012. Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Darnell Nurse have never won a game in America’s capital.
Success in Washington hasn’t come easy for the Oilers organization. Edmonton is 11-23-2 (ties)-2 OTL) all time. In the 1980s Edmonton went 7-9-1, but since then it has been an ugly 32 years. Edmonton is 4-14-1-2 since 1990. They are 2-8-2 in the 2000s. In their 12 visits this century the Oilers have been shutout four times, scored one goal twice times and two goals three times.
Tonight the Oilers skate into Washington with points in their past five games going 4-0-1. Edmonton has a better record recently, but still have areas of its game that need to improve. Scoring from the top-nine and on the power play are two areas which need a jolt.
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Edmonton is 4-4-2 in its last 10 while Washington is 5-5. If you look at the 5×5 numbers, Edmonton has played better recently.
TEAM
GP
CF%
FF%
SF%
GF%
xGF%
SCF%
SCGF%
HDCF%
HDGF%
SH%
SV%
PDO
Edmonton
10
55.23
53.88
52.7
56.1
53.11
53.28
58.82
52.02
54.55
8.42
92.65
1.011
Washington
10
50.75
50.73
50.42
53.13
50.25
51.57
53.85
51.35
58.33
7.14
93.59
1.007
However, their special teams in the past 10 games has been absolutely dreadful.
TEAM
PPO
PPG
PP%
TS
PP GA
PK%
Edmonton
22
3
13.6%
27
11
59.3%
Washington
26
5
19.2%
33
10
69.7%
Edmonton has been unable to score on the man advantage and they are leaking goals for fun on the PK. Washington’s PK hasn’t been much better, so maybe Edmonton’s PP can gain some confidence tonight. In 2022 only Evan Bouchard (two goals v. Calgary) and Zack Kassian (late in PP against OTT) have scored on the man advantage. Connor McDavid leads the Oilers with nine PP shots, while Leon Draisaitl has eight. But their shots/60 rates are down from the first 21 games of the season when the power play was on fire.
In the first 21 games Draisaitl had 24.7 shots/60 and McDavid was at 20.6. Draisaitl had 10 goals and McDavid had five. But since then both have shot less and the PP success has dipped as well. In the past 20 games Draisaitl has three goals and 17.85 shots/60, while McDavid has zero goals and 15.44 shots/60.
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Those two need to be the main shooters and the PP needs more motion like it had earlier this season.
Vitek Vanecek left last night’s game early in the first period and was replaced in goal by Ilya Samsonov. Samsonov picked up the win, stopping 43 of 45 shots. The only two goals he allowed came on the power play. The Capitals did recall Pheonix Copley from the taxi squad today so Samsonov will get the start. Copley hasn’t played an NHL game this season. Samsonov was brilliant last night, but he’s struggled with consistency this season posting a .906sv% and 2.76 GAA. In 13 of his 20 starts he’s posted a .906Sv% of lower.

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Kane – McDavid – Yamamoto
McLeod – Draisaitl – Puljujarvi
Hyman – RNH – Ryan
Foegele – Shore – Kassian
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Nurse – Bouchard
Keith – Ceci
Lagesson – Barrie
Koskinen
Tyson Barrie returns to the lineup on the blue line while Tippett shuffled his lines around. Ryan McLeod moves up with Draisaitl, Derek Ryan will play with RNH and Devin Shore will centre Warren Foegele and Zack Kassian. Foegele getting bumped down and Ryan and McLeod going up makes sense based on recent play. Foegele has struggled to score, while Ryan and McLeod have produced lately.
McDavid has gone 19 games without having a three-point game. He has 19 points in his last 19 games and has seven games with two points, five with one and seven with zero. McDavid has been so productive the past four seasons that not having a three-point night in 19 games is odd.
In his rookie season he went 24 games without a three-point night. He had eight games with zero points, 11 with one and five with two.
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The next season, between December 3rd, 2016 and January 16th, 2017, he went 21 games. He had 10 games with zero points, five with one and six with two.
Since then he hasn’t gone 20 games without having at least one three-point game. Here is a breakdown of his points in those 345 games.
75 games with zero points.
112 games with one point.
91 games with two points.
47 games with three points.
14 games with four points.
Five games with five points.
One game with six points.
He had more two-point games than zero point games.
He’s been incredibly productive. In 19.4% of the games he scored three+ points and that’s why him going 19 games without a three-point night caught my eye.
In the first 21 games this season McDavid produced:
Two games with no points.
Six games with one point.
Seven games with two points.
Four games with three points.
Two games with four points.
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Is tonight the night he breaks out?

Capitals

Sheary – Backstrom – Sprong
Snively –  Kuznetsov – Wilson
Hagelin – Dowd – Leason
Protas – Eller – Hathaway
Fehervary – Carlson
Orlov – Jensen
Van Riemsdyk –  Schultz
Samsonov
Alex Ovechkin was placed in COVID protocol today and will miss tonight’s game as well as the All-Star weekend. Losing Ovechkin is a huge blow for the Capitals as he leads them with 29 goals and 58 points. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson are tied for second on the Capitals with 13 goals. It is horrible timing for those who like to see the best players in the game perform. Ovechkin has been my favourite player for years and it would have been fun to see him battle Draisaitl and McDavid. But his absence is a big break for the Oilers.
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The Capitals are in Edmonton on March 9th and hopefully Ovechkin will be in the lineup.
The Capitals have been very stingy in the first period. They’ve allowed 29 goals in 46 games, and only Pittsburgh has been better allowing 25 goals in 46 games. The Capitals have allowed 52 goals in the second period, 35 in the third and seven in overtime. Do they struggle with the long change? It seems that way. Something to watch for tonight.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton picks up a rare win in Washington with a 5-3 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Both teams score a PP goal as both PK units are struggling.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Foegele scores a goal in a game for the third time in the last 34 games.

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