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19 SOG
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game recap

Oilers hand Caps first loss, 2-1

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

NHL.com

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Oilers hand Caps first loss, 2-1
Washington Capitals 1, Edmonton Oilers 2
Three Stars of the Game
Nikolai Khabibulin
1st
SA: 35TOI: 59:46
GA: 1EV: 27-28
PIM: 0PP: 5-5
SV%: .971SH: 2-2
Jordan Eberle
2nd
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: -1TOI: 17:58
Troy Brouwer
3rd
G: 0Shots: 4
A: 0Hits: 4
PTS: 0PIM: 2
+/-: 0TOI: 13:46

The NHL's worst team a year ago ended the Washington Capitals' quest to make history.

The Edmonton Oilers, 30th in the overall standings last season, got power-play goals by Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall, as well 34 saves by Nikolai Khabibulin as they beat Washington 2-1 on Thursday, handing the Caps their first loss in eight games this season.

"The three areas where we had difficulty last year won us the game tonight," Oilers coach Tom Renney said of his team's goaltending, power play and penalty-killing. The Oilers struggled in all three areas last season -- which included a 5-0 loss in Washington in the teams' only meeting in 2010-11.

This time, the power play produced both goals, the penalty-killers were flawless and Khabibulin continued his early-season brilliance. The 38-year-old is 4-0-2 and has allowed just six goals in six games.

"It was a good test," Khabibulin said after the Oilers improved to 5-2-2 after their third consecutive win. "We really wanted to see where we're at. So it feels good to beat one of the best teams in the League."

Washington was just the 10th team in NHL history to start a season with seven straight wins -- and they looked like they were on the way to No. 8 when Karl Alzner kept the puck in at the point, then wound up and blew a shot past Khabibulin at 5:36.

Edmonton nearly tied it later in the period when Cam Barker beat Tomas Vokoun but drilled the post. The Oilers did get even at 18:15 on a nice three-way passing play during a 4-on-3 power play when Eberle slid a quick pass through the crease to Hall, who beat Vokoun for his third of the season.

"Eberle made a perfect pass to me back door and I couldn't really miss it," Hall said.

Eberle put the Oilers ahead to stay at 12:44 of the second period when Eberle took the rebound of Corey Potter's slapper from the point and fired it into an open net.

The Oilers cashed in on two of their eight power plays in the first 40 minutes.

"For whatever reason we took penalties not only in our zone but also in the offensive zone," said Vokoun, who lost for the first time in seven games with Washington. "Penalties are tough to kill in this League. We had a chance to get a point but they had a bit more puck luck than us.

"You can't take that many penalties, no matter who you are playing. It cost us the game in the end."

After the Oilers took the lead, Khabibulin made sure they kept it.

With four minutes left in the middle period, he denied Alex Ovechkin with a kick save after Ovi picked off a pass in the Edmonton zone. He was sharp early in the third, making kick saves on Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom and robbing Dennis Wideman on a slap shot. Wideman nearly tied it with four minutes left, but his power-play slapper hit the post, and Ovechkin hit the crossbar with 15 seconds to play.

"I thought we played pretty good in the third period and came at them," Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Once that first five minutes went by and we didn't get one with the pressure we had on them and on the first power play in the third when (Khabibulin) made that stop on Dennis Wideman, I thought it's going to be hard to score on this guy tonight. We threw everything we could at him."

Eberle says the Oilers still have plenty of room for improvement.

"I didn't think it was our best," he said. "We turned over a lot of pucks, kind of made it a track meet and I think that's what they wanted. They're such a fast transition team."

It was the ninth NHL game for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the No. 1 pick in last June's NHL Draft. If he plays a 10th, he will remain with Edmonton for the remainder of the season.

But that's an issue for tomorrow. For now, he was happy to share in the victory.

"It was awesome," he said. "They were undefeated coming into tonight so to get a win against a good team tonight was great. We really battled hard tonight. Khabibulin, some of the saves he made for us were ridiculous."

Material from team media was used in this report

scoring summary
1st Period
05:36
WSH
Karl Alzner (1) ASST: Jeff Halpern (3), Jason Chimera (1)
1 - 0 WSH
18:15
EDM
PPG - Taylor Hall (3) ASST: Jordan Eberle (7), Corey Potter (4)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
12:44
EDM
PPG - Jordan Eberle (2) ASST: Corey Potter (5), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (4)
2 - 1 EDM
3rd Period
NONE
penalty summary
1st Period
02:52
EDM
Theo Peckham  Cross checking against  Matt Hendricks
09:55
EDM
Anton Lander  Hooking against  Matt Hendricks
09:55
WSH
Matt Hendricks  Diving against  Anton Lander
15:23
WSH
Alexander Semin  Hooking against  Taylor Hall
16:23
EDM
Ryan Smyth  Slashing against  Marcus Johansson
16:37
WSH
John Carlson  Delaying Game - Puck over glass
17:43
WSH
Roman Hamrlik  Hooking against  Shawn Horcoff
2nd Period
04:29
WSH
Jeff Schultz  Hooking against  Magnus Paajarvi
12:04
WSH
Troy Brouwer  Hooking against  Tom Gilbert
13:23
WSH
Marcus Johansson  Closing hand on puck
17:11
WSH
Mathieu Perreault  Slashing against  Ryan Smyth
18:14
WSH
Karl Alzner  Holding the stick against  Jordan Eberle
3rd Period
01:22
EDM
Ladislav Smid  Roughing against  Marcus Johansson
14:59
EDM
Anton Lander  Tripping against  Troy Brouwer
18:54
EDM
Andy Sutton  Roughing against  Matt Hendricks
goalie stats
Tomas Vokoun
SA: 19TOI: 58:46
Saves: 17EV: 12 - 12
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 7
SV%: .895SH: 0 - 0
Nikolai Khabibulin
SA: 35TOI: 59:46
Saves: 34EV: 27 - 28
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .971SH: 2 - 2