19:30 At the whistle, is Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz menacingly/creepily staring down Oilers coach (and Trotz’ former Portland Pirates player) Todd Nelson?
18:12 Capitals Goal Alex Ovechkin swoops in front of Victor Fasth with the puck and Nikita Nikitin and Benoit Pouliot both lunge after him, and Alex Ovechkin trips over their sticks. The ref raises his arm looking like Pouliot is about to take the tripping penalty. In that time Alex Ovechkin gets set up in his office, Andre Burakovsky picks up the loose puck on the boards and sends it over to him to bang in. 1-0 Capitals.
15:25 Nail Yakupov gets in the Capitals’ end, recovers the puck in the circle, protects it with his body waiting for help. Passes it back to Nikitin who misses it and the puck is back in the Oilers’ end.
14:30 Matt Fraser ties up a Caps defenseman and the puck flips over to Lander who patiently waits for an opportunity. He takes it around the net but it is batted away on the other side before he can do anything with it. Still no shots for the Oilers.
13:30 Hall, Nuge, Schultz, Nikitin try to get something going in the Caps end, but Caps not giving them much of a chance to set up. Hall and Schultz have a couple whacks at it but no serious chances.
12:13 Alex Ovechkin shoots it into Fasth’s glove
9:56 Alex Ovechkin goes for a skate with the puck around the the Oilers net for a good six seconds. Mark Fayne stays with him and keeps him to the outside. The puck is poked out of the zone.
8:44 Capitals Penalty - Interference. Jordan Eberle is driving to the net and is upended on a hip-check by Jack Hillen. Hall wiffs on the puck at the same moment. Interference penalty for Hillen.
7:45 Oilers missing the net a lot so far.
6:49 Oilers Penalty - Interference. Nail Yakupov goes into the corner to retrieve the puck. Joel Ward goes in after him but Petry makes a smart play and picks Ward, standing in front of him, giving Nail Yakupov the space to skate away with the puck,. Petry gets caught doing it though. Interference penalty for Petry.
6:02 Capitals Goal Oilers on the penalty kill. Alex Ovechkin is set up in his circle. Mark Fayne looks aware of him but reluctant to leave the box formation in front of the net. Mike Green picks up the puck, passes it over to Alex Ovechkin who bangs in an easy one. Alex Ovechkin playing like he’s promised himself a hat trick today. He has 15 points in last 11 games. 2 - 0 Capitals.
6:00 Is Barry Trotz doing that staring thing again?!
5:09 Oilers Goal Taylor Hall does some great battling behind the net to get the puck out to Nail Yakupov. Yakupov shoots and Derek Roy picks up the rebound and pops it in the open side of the net. 2 - 1 Capitals.
2:26 Capitals Goal John Carlson pinches in, swats it over to the net, and Jay Beagle tips it in. Capitals applying a lot of pressure, showing strong puck possession, and Oilers really struggling to take break out of their own end. 3 - 1 Capitals.
00:10 Evgeny Kuznetsov all alone gets a shot straight down the middle that seems to startle Victor Fasth
The Capitals have punched the clock and are getting down to business. They look very systematic in the way they maintain puck possession. They are controlling the game and getting set up positionally very quickly and effectively. Not only offensively, but defensively too. When the Oilers cross the blue line into the Caps end, they don’t get very far. The Caps are there to force a turnover every time. It looks like a typical Oilers’ first period - lifeless for their part.
19:25 Hall somehow gets the puck around two Cap defenders behind Braden Holtby’s net.
18:30 Oilers showing a little more spunk in the Capitals end, but the Caps are still too much of a wall in their own end.
16:30 Some back and forth, no great chances for either team. Taylor Hall is the most visible person on the ice.
14:50 Both Mark Fayne and Derek Roy don’t have sticks. But they get the puck out.
14:10 A solid thirty seconds of the Capitals controlling the Oilers’ zone. They only get a couple shots, nothing too dangerous, but the Oilers look helpless against the Capitals’ positioning and strength on the puck.
12:40 Teddy Purcell carries it out but doesn’t know where to take it as everywhere he looks is a red shirt.
12:09 Oilers Penalty Mark Fayne loses an edge and falls behind Fasth’s net with Chimera floating around. He covers the puck with his hand and pushes it behind him so Chimera doesn’t pick it up. Refs call him for smothering the puck.
9:25 Joel Ward streaks with the puck to the net. Tries to go to the backhand as Nugent-Hopkins gives him a shove from behind. Crashes over Fasth into the net, knocking it off its moorings.
8:02 Victor Fasth makes a pretty cool glove save and gives an emotionless I-can-do-this-all-night look
4:49 Capitals Penalty Anton Lander pushes his way past Tom Wilson, manages a little deke and gets a shot off on Braden Holtby. Tom Wilson has his stick around him and takes a hooking penalty.
2:15 Oilers get away with one as the puck bounces up to Alex Ovechkin who gets ahead of the Oilers defenseman. Puck rolls off his stick as he tries to shoot right in front of the net.
00:40 Two-on-one Taylor Hall passes to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who one-times it but Braden Holtby makes the save
00:08 Capitals penalty Matt Niskanen slew-foots Derek Roy. Roy in a bit of pain and goes straight the dressing room. Niskanen takes a kneeing penalty. Roy later comes back.
00:03 Oilers goal Off the faceoff, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to Justin Schultz to Nikita Nikitin, who bombs it into the net. 3 - 2 Capitals
Well done on Nikita Nikitin’s goal off the faceoff. It looks like the only way the Oilers are going to score is from the outside as the Capitals are not giving them any room to make a play. The Capitals appear to keep bringing one forward down to play three men back defensively.
17:32 Capitals penalty Rob Klinkhammer is in front of Braden Holtby. Matt Niskanen punches him in the back of the head and takes a roughing penalty.
15:30 Derek Roy drops it back for Teddy Purcell who takes way too long to shoot and it is poked away.
13:22 Capitals Goal Karlsson slaps it from the blue line and it is deflected by Backstrom who is right in front of the net. 4 - 2 Capitals.
12:50 Capitals penalty Nail Yakupov wins a battle on the boards and gets the puck over to Derek Roy but as he does Karl Alzner holds him, and the ref raises an arm. Derek Roy carries it into the Caps end and passes it to a streaking Yakupov who has caught up to the play and gets off a big shot that is deflected by Braden Holtby into the glass.
Karl Alzner holding penalty.
11:20 Jay Beagle intercepts an Oilers pass at centre ice and skates directly into the Oilers’ corner and tries to freeze it by pressing the puck into the boards. Kills a good chunk of time.
10:45 Jordan Eberle tries to skate in with the puck at the blue line near the boards and Jack Hillen levels him with a big hit. Eberle takes a few seconds to get up and goes straight to the bench. Eberle returns to the ice later.
8:37 Capitals penalty Rob Klinkhammer drives to the net and Jay Beagle gives him a little whack. Klinkhammer falls and slides behind the net. Beagle takes a (perhaps undeserved) tripping penalty.
7:10 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins misses a shot that goes around the boards and Justin Schultz gets caught pinching forward on the play. Joel Ward skates up with the puck with Justin Schultz trying to get in his way. Ward makes a nifty move through Schultz’ skates and gets a snap shot off on Victor Fasth who makes a quick save.
6:20 Nail Yakupov is mysteriously hurt and falls to the ice. Is back on the ice at 5:30.
4:11 Oilers goal Capitals go back into their corner for a casual puck recovery. Matt Fraser and Anton Lander both battle hard behind the net and knock the puck up to Teddy Purcell who wastes no time putting it in the top corner. 4 - 3 Capitals
1:43 Teddy Purcell blasts one from the blueline. Braden Holtby holds on with Nuge hanging around in front of them.
1:43 Oilers timeout Oilers pull Victor Fasth. Fasth yells at the team behind the bench again but this time we think it’s "cheering"
1:33 Jeff Petry sends the puck by the blueline over to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins by the blueline who makes a great shot. Braden Holtby stretches across the net for an even better glove save.
1:25 Nikita Nikitin sends in another big slapshot. He’s had a few of those.
1:07 Oilers goal Benoit Pouliot puts the puck over to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins behind the net. Nuge comes around the other side and seemingly harmlessly wrists it low along the ice, short side. It takes a weird bounce and ends up in the net. 4-4 tie
00:08 Rob Klinkhammer knows where the puck is going at the faceoff. More like a football defensive end off the snap he skates straight into Alex Ovechkin and prevents a shot.
4:27 Oscar Klefbom sends one with direct line-of-sight into Braden Holtby from the blueline.
2:58 Taylor Hall passes it across the front of the net to Matt Fraser but he can’t get his stick on it. Amazing battling again by Taylor Hall in their end.
1:42 Jeff Petry yells for the puck at the red line by the boards. Jordan Eberle sends it over. Petry shoots and the pucks drops off Holby into the crease but it is cleared away.
Capitals: Evgeny Kuznetsoz Score
Oilers: Nail Yakupov Saved
Capitals: Nicklas Backstom Saved
Oilers: Jordan Eberle Saved
Capitals: Alex Ovechkin Saved
Oilers: Derek Roy Score
Capitals: Eric Fehr Saved
Oilers: Teddy Purcell Score
The Washington Capitals had seven straight wins at home coming into this game and visually they were, by far, the better team.
Nevertheless, the Oilers outshot the Capitals 31 - 24. It would be nice if I could say the Oilers capitalized on the Capitals’ many penalties, but the truth is they didn’t. They scored on one powerplay out of a possible six.
If I were to surmise one thing, though, that made the difference for the Oilers is they won key battles on the boards which transformed into two of their goals. This was especially toward the final minutes of the game. Taylor Hall, Anton Lander, and Matt Fraser all did some good digging. Jeff Petry had a number of very smart defensive plays. He was very heads-up about getting in the way of the Capitals offense and he caught them on line changes at least twice.
Justin Schultz topped the Oilers in TOI, playing over 25 minutes.
Coming up next…
The Oilers head home and take the week off for the All-Star Game before the Minnesota Wild come to town on January 27. Hopefully the Wild play former Oiler goaltender Devan Dubnyk. It’s been about a year since the Oilers moved him to Nashville in exchange for Matt Hendricks.