The Oilers have been swimming upstream for the better part of November, with their poor October leaving them with it all to do if they hope to make the playoffs. The Capitals have been looking more good than great to start the season, but still pose a stern test to the struggling visitors.
First & Second Periods
This game was horrific. Honestly. I wouldn't wish watching this on my worst enemy. It felt like a dentist appointment for my eyes, and I could not be more thrilled that it is, in fact, over.
Through the first thirty-seven (37) minutes, there were 25 (25!) shots on goal. Total. Both teams. Total. Aggregate. Sum. Quite frankly, it's a miracle I managed to stay awake.
And yes, the proceedings through two periods were as low-event as you might expect. Both goaltenders took turns making some great saves, with Brossoit looking (perhaps surprisingly) sturdy between the pipes.
Midway through the second period, the Oilers thought they found a marker. Some good work by Jesse Puljujarvi down low saw the puck reach Oscar Klefbom at the left point. Milan Lucic was in line to receive credit for the deflected howitzer, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was deemed to have interfered with the Capitals' goaltender. No goal.
The second finished without further incident, save for a brief flurry of chances for Patrick Maroon that he failed to capitalize on.
The third period began with the visitors searching for a spark. Some nice work by the Oilers' fourth line led to Jujhar Khaira stuffing home from the top of the blue paint.
Not long after, Connor McDavid threatened on a 2-on-1, but his wrist shot sailed wide. We're encouraged though.
Of course, that brief, goal-induced euphoria was abruptly, aggressively interrupted by that familiar goal-induced nausea, as some chaos in the Oilers' zone left Dmitri Orlov alone in the high slot to wire past Brossoit and tie the game.
The remainder of the third period carried on as you might expect. Two teams, a puck, refs, the whole lot. It also ended scoreless and virtually eventless, with the teams trading half-chances and half-breakaways as time ticked away. Slowly. Of course, none of these ‘halfies’ amounted to much, and the teams remained tied at 1-1 after sixty (60) minutes. The Oilers have now acquired at least 5 of the 8 points on offer during this four-game swing out East.
The Oilers controlled the puck for most of the first two minutes, but outside of a trademark rush by The Young Pope and The Good Doctor, had nothing to show for it.
The Capitals grew into overtime after weathering the initial storm, and the action was end to end. Both teams had their spells, but neither team could get one. We're going to a shootout.
Tim Jim Oshie. 1-0 bad guys.
Left post. Still 1-0. Bads.
Glass behind the net. 1-0.
So, heading into the Oilers' third shooter, in a shootout in which Brossoit has done his part stopping two of three, the Oilers, needing to score to stay alive, send out..... NOTED GOAL SCORER MARK LETESTU.
Holtby. 1-0. Obviously. Capitals win 2-1 (SO). Oilers officially get 5 of 8 points on the road trip.
As I said, I'm just glad it's over. That was not enjoyable. The result almost made it enjoyable, but it wasn't to be on this day.
Kudos to Laurent Brossoit, who played a competent game as a backup, and made some real nice saves to keep the Oilers in it.
As for the rest of it, I mean what's left to say? The Oilers have systematically dismantled their forward depth the past two summers, and now sit 31st (of 31 teams) in goals per game. Mistakes like Oscar Klefbom's in the Rangers game don't hurt as much when you have an opportunity to outscore them. Right now, this team couldn't outscore A.C. Green.
Next up, the Oilers welcome the Vegas Golden Knights (10-5-1) to Rogers Place on Tuesday for a game between a good team and a bad one, only they're not who you think.