The Road-trip Continues: Washington Capitals vs Edmonton Oilers

Washington Capitals (7-2-2) v Edmonton Oilers (7-2-1)

Predicted Goaltender Record (W-L-OTL) GAA/SA%
Washington Capitals Braden Holtby 4-1-2 3.60/.884
Edmonton Oilers Mikko Koskinen 4-0-0 2.20/.934

 

Tonight, the Washington Capitals’ Canadian road-trip continues in Edmonton, Alberta. The Capitals and Oilers haven’t played each other since November of 2018, when the Caps topped Edmonton 4-2. Despite dropping their last two games, the Oilers have had the best start to their season in recent memory, and are undefeated at home at Rogers Place.

The Capitals have won their last four games, and are 5-1-0 on the road. Some too-early-to-tell predictions have the Capitals once again winning the Metropolitan division with just under 100 points, which is a surprise to nobody.  (@IneffectiveMath). Washington extinguished the Calgary Flames the other night 5-3 in regulation. The first period was sleepy and scoreless. Each team received a power play, but neither team converted. Scotiabank Saddledome was eerily quiet, and despite relatively sloppy play from the Capitals, veteran netminder Braden Holtby made some incredibly timely saves, John Carlson continued his point streak with two goals of his own, and still leads the league with 20 points. He is now just the fourth defenseman in history to top 20 points in the month of October, and still has the chance to set an all-time record. With the feat, Carlson joins the ranks of Al MacInnis, Brian Leetch, and Paul Coffey (Wegman). Since making his season debut, Michal Kempny has three points in three games, including one goal. Chandler Stephenson scored his first goal since New Years’ Eve of 2018, breaking a nearly-year long scoreless streak, giving the Capitals a 2-0 lead, but goals from Elias Lindholm and Austin Czarnik brought the Flames up to speed, tying the game 2-2. Alexander Ovechkin would break the tie, closing the second period with 5 goals scored between the two teams. Tom Wilson would re-establish the Caps’ two goal lead, and John Carlson would seal the deal with an empty net goal at the 18:15 mark. Tobias Rieder would give the Flames an extra goal, but the Capitals emerged victorious for the 7th time this season.  Braden Holtby is expected to start tonight versus Edmonton.

Despite being shut out by the pitiful Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, Edmontons’ special teams have been lights out through 10 games. The penalty kill is 4th best in the league, successfully killing off 88.2% of the penalties they’ve face, which is extremely impressive considering they average just over seven penalty minutes per game (TheScore). And while the Oilers haven’t had the most difficult of matchups, it should be noted that their power play is currently operating at a whopping 35.7%, good enough for first overall, with 6 power play goals coming from former Flame James Neal. After a disappointing 2018-19 season with the Flames, where he scored just seven goals through 63 games, Neal has surpassed even the great Connor McDavid in goal-scoring with the Oilers (Hockey Reference). Leon Draisaitl has six goals and 16 points in 10 games, and leads the team in power play time (3:47). The Oilers have been hit with the injury bug, as four defensemen and a left-winger are listed as either day-to-day, on injured reserve, or on the disabled list. Mike Smith is expected to start for Edmonton.

Coverage of the game begins at 8:00pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 8:30pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 9:00pm.

 

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Sources:

Hockey Reference. (2019). James Neal Stats. Retrieved from https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/n/nealja01.html.

IneffectiveMath. (2019). “Point projections over the past fortnight”. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/IneffectiveMath/status/1187048523365322752.

TheScore. (2019). Edmonton Oilers. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/28.

Wegman, J. (2019). Carlson becomes 4th D-man ever with 20 points in October. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/1854811.

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