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Capitals @ Oilers Game 7 Preview

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And we can build this dream together Stand each storm forever Nothing's gonna stop us now

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his first goal of the season Monday versus the Lightning.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his first goal of the season Monday versus the Lightning.
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports


caps 2

@

oilers logo black text
3-0-2, 8 points, 1.6 p/g Ranks 1-4-1, 3 points, .5 p/g
Eastern Conference - 3rd Western Conference - 14th
5th P/G 27th
18th ST 15th
5th ES 29th
7th Goal 29th
7:30 PM MDT - SN 360, SN 1
Rexall Place
The opposing view: Japers' Rink

Winners!

A late third period goal by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers an opportunity to hold on for a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Taylor Hall scored the first penalty shot goal for the Oilers since the dark ages, and even Justin Schultz had a nifty goal.  The team didn't have to rely on Ben Scrivens to save 59 shots (it was more like 24) and no one did anything egregiously stupid.  It was a positive feeling, a relieving feeling after going winless in five games.

The Oilers look to string two victories together.  They plan on doing this by defeating the Capitals this evening.

The Oilers are saying

"I think he's played very good for a kid in a tough league who is 18 years old.  We spoke about him (Monday).  I think he's been well-supported by his linemates.  He's ben very good on our power play.  He's finding his way like any player of that age."

Does anyone other than Stauffer advocate that Leon Draisaitl stay in the NHL after game 9?  He's fourth among Oiler centres in time on ice that have 3 games or more so far.  He's got one assist, and eight shots.  I don't think he's looked awful, it's just...what's he going to get out of this season by remaining on the club?  Fourth line minutes?   Send him down and do what you should've done fifteen weeks ago, and that's acquire a 2/3 centre.  If it's Kyle Brodziak to play third line minutes, it's Kyle Brodziak to play third line minutes.

It's certainly not the most enviable position to be in, but very little this team has done over the past eight years has been enviable.

Get me a centre,  Brodziak can probably be had for a song.

The Opponent is saying

"It was a problem.  Better structure, better puck management, better team defense.  We don't spend particularly a lot of time in our end.  We'll have the odd shift that you don't like.  I think there's been more commitment to blocking shots; we've probably blocked more shots already than we did in a good portion of last year.  That's been an emphasis"

SMALL SAMPLE SIZE ALERT
Capitals have allowed an average of just 25 shots per game so far in this young season, good for third in the league. That's a fairly stark decrease from almost 34 shots per game last year.  If they can hold that number past the quarter mark of the season, it could signify some real change on the Caps' blue line.  I don't know if I'd go holding my breath on that, though.

Have some of this
  • Alex Ovechkin is a monster.  He's got six points in five games, two power play goals, he's ripping off goals with a ridiculous shot percentage (again, small sample size), and generally doing what he does.  Oh, and he's got a +1 +/- rating (although +/- is a fairly useless statistic, but some folks love to quote it like it means something)
  • Nail Yakupov had just 10:47 in ice time versus Tampa Bay.  That's the least amount of time on ice of any Oiler forward last game.  I'd expect that number to climb steadily.
  • Wins are good.  I hope to see more of them.  With a 3-2 victory over the Lightning, the Oilers aren't even allowing the most goals per game in the league anymore.  A win tonight against the Capitals would allow the Oilers to keep pace with *checks standings...* Colorado!  And Winnipeg!  What a feeling!
  • I think I know this team, and I'd be surprised to see them change much (if anything) in the lineup after a win.  That's mostly good, as I'm fairly confident that the six defencemen we saw against Tampa are the six best that the Oilers have.
PROJECTED LINES

The Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer
Marcus Johansson - Andre Burakovsky - Jay Beagle
Jason Chimera - Eric Fehr - Joel Ward
Liam O'Brien - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Michael Latta

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen
Nate Schmidt - Mike Green

Braden Holtby

The Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Teddy Purcell - Leon Draisaitl - David Perron
Benoit Pouliot - Mark Arcobello - Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Jesse Joensuu

Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry
Martin Marincin - Justin Schultz
Nikita Nikitin - Mark Fayne

Ben Scrivens