THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Only 90 seconds into the game, @Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring (1-0) with a beautiful little chip up and over Samsonov after he and Cody Ceci perfectly executed a give-and-go that seemed to catch the Caps off guard.
- Shortly after Draisaitl’s opener, @Evander Kane got his second goal of the year (2-0) after he parked himself in the slot and got his stick on Keith’s point shot, deflecting it perfectly through the goaltender’s legs.
- Continuing the early onslaught, @Connor McDavid put the Oilers up by three (3-0) with a sharp angle power play goal after he banked a shot in off Samsonov’s back, which ended the goalie’s night before it even had a chance to begin.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins restored the Oilers’ lead (4-3) with a shorthanded goal after he and Hyman put their hard hats on and got to work, rushing the puck into the Capitals zone and taking advantage of some real lackluster defending. Moments later, Nuge added an empty-netter to seal the deal and help his team lock up a massive road win.
- After dropping his last start against the Senators, @Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes for his 26th start of the season and looking to get his team back in the win column. And while I’m not suggesting Kostco was perfect, I will say that he did a fine job of staying in the fight and giving his team a chance to win, especially in the moments when they were getting shelled in the second period. At the end of the day, Koskinen gave his teammates a chance to win and that’s all we ever want from our goaltenders. Koskinen finished the night with 24 saves and a .889 save%.
- I want to give @Zach Hyman a quick shout out for the way he always busts his ass regardless of the situation. Had it not been for his hustle, there’s no way that RNH’s game winner would have even been possible and I just love the way this guy plays.
- Gotta give @Cody Ceci some love for wrapping the night up with a pair of assists to go along with 23:31 in TOI, one shot, two hits, and three blocks.
- Digging into the spreadsheets, the Oilers finished the night with a 50.49 CF% and a 45.36 xGF%.
- This was the kind of special teams performance we needed. Not only did the Oilers get a goal on their lone power play opportunity, but they also killed off all three of Washington’s chances with the man advantage.
- Do me a favour and check out the latest episode of Better Lait Than Never and let me know what you think! Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never for FREE on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts.
THE FACE PALMERS
- @Lars Eller got the Capitals on the board (3-1) with a nifty little backhanded dangle after he took a pass right in front of the net and made his move on a sliding Koskinen. Unfortunately, Bouchard got caught with a tough exit pass attempt that led to the goal, but I’m not going to be too hard on a kid that’s been excellent all season long.
- @Conor Sheary pulled Washington back to within a single goal (3-2) after the puck pinballed around in the slot a little bit before kicking out to his stick right at the side of the net. Not much Koskinen could have done on this one.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov tied the game (3-3) on a very lucky bounce after he blindly threw a centering pass towards the slot and had it bounce into the net off Tyson Barrie’s skate.
- That second period was rough and the Oilers were very lucky to head into the intermission still up by a goal.
- The Oilers were coughing the puck up at the opposing blue line far too often for my liking, and it seems like they’re having a hard time with the way teams are stacking up just inside the zone.
- Are you surprised that Jultz got a point? You’re not, are you?
- Late in the second period, Evander Kane left the game after he took a hard hit, and I was honestly shocked to see him back for the third. The reason I have this listed in the Face Palmers is that I wonder if the hit will have lingering effects that cause him to miss some time.
- @Tyson Barrie was battling the puck like he’s never played hockey before. And that penalty in the third? Marone.
- I regret to report that the Oilers won only 48% of the faceoffs.
We can only assume that Samsonov’s much older brother, Sergei, told him to try and throw the game so the Oilers could return to the glory experienced in 2006
— Kristen Hagg (@KristenHagg) February 3, 2022
Tyson Barrie with a secondary assist!
— dohfOs (Martin Lundén) (@dohfOs) February 3, 2022