I want to say that this game didn’t live up to my expectations, but the truth is I’ve learned to keep my expectations pretty low.
After a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, the Oilers are now sitting at 3-6-1 on the season, with a .500 record slipping further and further away.
Fourth worst goal differential in the league. Bleh.
Third worst overall record. Bleh.
Last in goals scored. Bleh.
It has to get better, right?
The Oilers actually started off the game pretty strong, with Patrick Maroon scoring on a rebound from Connor McDavid’s shot a little more than 12 minutes into the first. Adam Larsson increased the lead to two towards the end of the period, with a nice shot that went high blocker side on Braden Holtby.
That’s when the Capitals started to make their claim on the game. Devante Smith-Pelly scored with 18 seconds left in the first, taking any wind that may have been in the Oilers’ sails with a cross-ice one-timer.
Lars Eller tied the game halfway through the second period with another beautiful one-timer, his first goal of the season. Then, just 30 seconds into the third period, Evgeny Kuznetsov chipped in an Alex Ovechkin shot past Cam Talbot to give the Capitals a 3-2 lead.
Kuznetsov would score again with four minutes left in the period, sneaking the puck between Talbot and the post to stretch the lead to two. This was really the only goal that I think Talbot could have done much about. Talbot seemed to lose track of where the post was and wasn’t able to get tight enough to it to stop Kuznetsov.
Jay Beagle would grab an empty net goal with 19 seconds left in the game, running up the tally to five straight goals for the Capitals.
Thus ended an emotional letdown of a game, 5-2 final score for Washington. Bleh.
- Aside from a lapse on the Capitals’ fourth goal, Talbot was far and away the best Oiler tonight. The stats may not have been great (26 saves on 30 shots, .867 SV%), but Cam held the Oilers in this one for much longer than they deserved. Talbot made some huge saves and looked more like the 16-17 version of himself.
- I need Connor McDavid to shoot more. He’s the best player in the world, but he has a tendency to pass up scoring chances to set up his teammates. The kid looks like he’s feeling the pressure on the ice lately, something I’m sure a couple more goals would start to remedy. I just want to see him blast it on net more often.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins put in another strong performance in my books, especially in the first period. He’s been the Oilers’ most consistent performer so far this season, if you ask me. Reliable on the defensive side of the puck, and looking more and more confident on the offensive side.
- Kuznetsov absolutely shredded the Oilers in the third. That dude has some major puck skills. Also, Alex Ovechkin had himself a fine outing, racking up three assists, four hits, and five shots on goal.
- The Capitals played Brooks Orpik almost 28 minutes and still won by three goals. Brooks. Freaking. Orpik.
- Basically, the Oilers have very few offensive creators and not enough capable defenders. It’s just a poorly constructed roster that relies too much on a few really good hockey players. Too many holes, too much money tied up in the wrong players, not enough depth. Bleh.
You can find me on Twitter @SullivanJLarson