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Oilers v. Capitals - Deuteronomy 28:49-52


Yahweh will bring a distant team against you, a people you haven't seen in nearly two years, and they will descend upon you like vultures. It is a team whose strategies you will confound you, a heartless group that shows no respect for veterans and has no pity on rookies. Its top line will score at every opportunity, and you will be utterly destroyed. Even though it will have no impact on their ability to make the playoffs, they won't even let you take a single point in overtime. They will attack relentlessly until both of your goaltenders--the players you trusted to protect you from devastation--are disheartened puddles of tears. Yes, they will make all of the gifts that Yahweh your God has given you seem completely worthless.

Edmonton Oilers @ Washington Capitals

Verizon Center, 5:00 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet

Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Capitals and Oilers are both off o a rough start this year, and much like the Oilers, the Capitals have really been struggling to keep pucks out of the net. The Oilers are tied for last in the NHL, allowing 5.0 goals per game, but the Capitals aren't far behind, sitting in a tie for 28th having allowed 4.0 per contest. Most of the problem is goaltending: Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth have combined for a lowly .891 even strength save percentage through five games (which is, of course, miles better than Edmonton's .856). The Capitals are almost certainly going to get better goaltending going forward, and when they do, they're probably going to win a lot of games.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (1-3-1):

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Hemsky
Perron - Gordon - Joensuu
Smyth - Arcobello - Eberle
Gazdic - Acton - Brown

Ference - J Schultz
Belov - Petry
Smid - N Schultz


Washington Capitals (1-4-0):

Johansson - Backstrom - Ovechkin
Laich - Grabovski - Brouwer
Chimera - Fehr - Ward
Erat - Beagle - Wilson

Alzner - Green
Urbom - Carlson
Schmidt - Oleksy


By The Numbers:

  • Ryan Smyth scored two goals in Edmonton's last game against Toronto after spending the night before that as a healthy scratch. The last time Smyth scored twice in one game? November 10, 2011 in a 6-3 loss to the Boston Bruins. After that game, Smyth had scored 16 points in his first 15 games of the season. Things haven't been quite so rosy since, so it was great to see Smyth potting a couple at least one more time before he calls it quits.
  • Since the trade that sent Martin Erat from Nashville to Washington, the Czech winger has just three points in eighteen regular season and playoff games. It's the kind of thing you might normally attribute to bad luck, but Erat has taken just fourteen shots on goal in those games, and he now finds himself on Washington's fourth line. Had he been a free agent, this would be considered wildly disappointing. That the Capitals gave up Filip Forsberg for him just makes things that much worse.
  • On the one hand, I think it's important not to blow Devan Dubnyk's poor performance out of proportion. It's just four games, and everyone plays poorly from time to time. On the other hand, Dubnyk's .829 save percentage over four games is the worst four-game stretch of his career. His previous low of .839 came in the first four games he ever played. I still don't think that makes it time to panic, but it's clear that this level of performance isn't acceptable, even in short stretches.