Caps grind out 3-2 win against Oilers

DC’s hockey team continued its road trip to Rogers Place in Edmonton looking to get back into the win column. They did just that, turning in one of their better team efforts of the season. A dedicated team defensive game combined with a relentless attack contributed to the winning result. Charlie Lindgren, filling in for the injured Darcy Kuemper, stopped 28 of 30 shots to preserve the victory.

After a scoreless first period in which the Caps put out 22 shots, the scoring began with Oilers defenseman Brett Kulak’s point shot goal at 1:44 of the second period. Lars Eller tied the score at 7:25. The scoring play began with Anthony Mantha providing a strong forechecking presence along the boards. This forced an errant clear which was redirected by Sonny Milano. The puck took a fortunate bounce towards Eller who skated in and flipped the puck over goalie Stuart Skinner.

Later in the period, the Oilers would pull ahead while shorthanded. John Carlson attempted to pass the puck while in the zone but it was intercepted by Connor McDavid. McDavid predictably outskated everyone on a breakaway and put in the wrister at 15:25. Normally a shorthanded goal breaks a team but the Capitals displayed some grit by responding while still on their power play at 16:55. The play was a perfectly executed triangulation setup with Evgeny Kuznetsov along the half boards, Dylan Strome on the goal line and TJ Oshie in his customary bumper position in front of the net. After Kuznetsov sent it to Strome he flipped it to Oshie who had just enough space to receive the puck. Oshie’s shot was snapped in over Skinner’s blocker side to tie the game.

The winning goal was scored in the final period on a great play by Aliaksei Protas. After taking a pass from Nick Jensen he had a chance to score only to find his shot lane cut off by Evan Bouchard. Protas had enough presence of mind to turn and leave the puck to Nic Dowd who was trailing the play. Dowd then put his shot in the top corner over Skinner’s glove hand at 7:13. To his credit, Skinner kept the game close with several sparkling saves, a good number of which were from point-blank range. He would finish the game with 47 stops. After Dowd’s tally, the Capitals effectively shut down the Oilers’ attack, not allowing much to happen in the middle of the ice.

NOTES—The Capitals’ 50 shots for the game were the second most in this season. As an example of the Capitals’ commitment to defense, Leon Draisaitl did not get a shot until the first minute of 3rd, his only shot on net. McDavid’s goal was also his only shot of the game. Hunter Shepard was recalled from the Hershey Bears to serve as the backup goalie. The Caps will finish their road trip Wednesday night in Philadelphia against the Flyers with a scheduled start time of 7 PM ET.

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