Capitals outlast Oilers, win 5-4 in thriller
A beleaguered Washington Capitals team continued its home stand hosting the Edmonton Oilers. The Capitals, losers of their last four, came into the game determined to get back into the win column and their renewed efforts paid off. A sound forechecking game and a revived power play also helped set up the much needed victory.
The opening period featured only one goal, the result of a skillful takeaway by Dylan Strome from Edmonton forward Warren Foegele. The goal came at 18:15 in the period and capped several minutes with Washington maintaining the offensive momentum.
For both teams the offense would explode in the second period with five total goals being scored. Strome would deflect a drive by Evgeny Kuznetsov for a power play marker just 26 seconds into the period. Connor McDavid would answer with a sparkling individual effort. Receiving the puck at the point, he skated through the entire Washington defense and outflanked goalie Charlie Lindgren for the tally at 8:33.
Kuznetsov would net himself his first goal of the season on 5-on 3 power play. The strike would be one of four goals scored on the man advantage by Washington. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Alex Ovechkin would trade goals in the fifteenth minute of the period.
In the third period, the Caps unfortunately lost some of their aggressiveness resulting in repeated chances by Edmonton. The Oilers had shortened their bench and had taken to double-shifting both McDavid and Draisaitl. The latter would put away a wrist shot while inexplicably being left alone on the side of the net at 2:54 to make it 4-3.
Ovechkin would make what would arguably be the play of the night late in the game. With less than 2 minutes remaining, he collected the puck and sped past the Oilers defense. As he arrived in the zone, he was collared by Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse. The Capitals captain appeared to have lost any chance to score. But Ovechkin would then slip the puck between his legs with the pass perfectly arriving on the stick of a streaking Kuznetsov who planted the wrister at 18:09, recapturing the two goal lead.
Edmonton however remained dangerous up until the very end. Nugent-Hopkins would bring the Oilers within a goal with just over a minute remaining. Lindgren and the defense, anchored by Martin Fehervary, Erik Gustafsson and Nick Jensen, fortunately would do enough to stave off the relentless Oilers in the final minute.
Making their season debuts for the Capitals were winger Nicholas Aube-Kubel and defenseman Lucas Johansen. They would both acquit themselves well in limited ice time. Thankfully there are no injuries to report for this game. Washington continues its home stand against the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night. Start time is scheduled for 7:30 PM ET.