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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Washington Capitals

Oilers look to snap 0-2-1 funk, but they’ll need to handle the Capitals to do it.

Edmonton Oilers v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (30-23-4, 4th, Pacific)

Washington Capitals (31-18-9), 4th, Metro)

09 March 2022

Rogers Place

6 PM MT

TV: Sportsnet, Sportsnet 1

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Japers’ Rink

FLAME OUT

TylerToffoli was a two goal scorer for the Flames in Calgary on Monday, helping the Flames take a 3-1 decision over the Oilers. Devin Shore provided the lone tally in defeat, Mikko Koskinen had 26 saves in the loss, as the Flames continue to put distance between themselves and the rest of the division. Things don’t get any easier for the Oilers tonight as the Capitals are in town, and they’re rolling with wins in their last three.

The Oilers are going to need to start getting back into the win column, and they’re going to need to start doing it soon. Can they trip up a Caps team that’s looking good as of late?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“I think we’re trying to build something as a group and the way we want to play, and I think that needs to be our focus and let results be a byproduct of that. A lot of games left. We’re over the halfway mark, but I think if we start looking at the playoff picture, I don’t think that’s a recipe for success right now.”

Source

That’s Oilers forward Devin Shore after the Oilers’ 3-1 loss the Flames on Monday.

Shore is correct, the Oilers are over the halfway mark. There are 25 games remaining in the regular season, and the Oilers are going to have to win the majority of them if they want to have any chance at the postseason. If 96 points is the cut line, Edmonton is going to need to win 16 or 17 games (or any combination of 32 points) if they’re going to have any serious chance at getting into the second season.

THE CAPITALS ARE SAYING

“I think that was what was so important and good for building confidence within our guys is that we have a veteran team, so we’ve been there before, but that was one of the first games this year where we’ve been down a goal,” Washington forward Nic Dowd said. “We stuck with it in a tough building against a good team in their building and did all the little things right and we got rewarded for it at the end.”

Source

That’s Capitals forward Nic Dowd after his club’s 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames last night.

Alexander Ovechkin scored two goals last night (765 and 766 in his career) which ties him for third overall with Jaromir Jagr. Dowd scored midway through the third to give the Capitals the lead, though it was Ovechkin that would score the eventual game winner later on.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • CRUNCH TIME: The feeling among some Oiler faithful has seemed to shift to concern, and it’s very well warranted. After a 7-3 run for new Oilers bench boss Jay Woodcroft, an 0-2-1 run has all eyes looking at the standings. Edmonton will need to catch either Vegas (4 points ahead) or Los Angeles (7 points ahead) if they’re going to ensure a run at the postseason. The Oilers have one game in hand over LA and Vegas, they’ll do good to put two points in the bank tonight.
  • Vitek Vanecek picked up the W for Washington last night in Calgary, I’d expect them to go with Ilya Samsonov (17-9-3, .901 SV% / 2.93 GAA / 3 SO) tonight. The Oilers currently have three goaltenders on the roster. They could go with either of Koskinen, Smith or Skinner, though Smith was kept out of Monday’s loss with an illness. Guess we’ll just have to wait and find out.
  • BUCKETS OF GOALS: Alexander Ovechkin scored his 755th and 756th career goal in Washington’s 5-4 win in Calgary last night, and there’s a real chance that he could finish his career with more goals than Wayne Gretzky if he plays long enough. With 36 goals on the season, there’s a real chance he could finish near 50 this year. That’d put him at 770 in his career, just 124 shy of The Great One. With four years left on his deal after this one, he’d need to average 31 a season.
  • SICK BAY: The Oilers could use a Jesse Puljujärvi or a Ryan Nugnet-Hopkins back in the lineup sooner than later. Ryan McLeod has filled in well on the top line with Connor McDavid, but a third line without Nugent-Hopkins (and a power play without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) has the club behind the eight ball. The Oilers are just 2/17 on the power play since his injury.
  • THE NEXT 5: The Oilers need six or seven points in their next five games. After tonight, they’ve got Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Detroit and New Jersey at home. If the Oilers can’t secure the bag over the next week, it’s going to lead up to a very interesting trade deadline day.