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POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Oilers 4, Caps 3 (OT)

Caps let late lead slip away, Ovechkin and McDavid put on a show, Carlson hits 700 games and nine straight with point, more

by Mike Vogel @VogsCaps / washingtoncaps.com

Heavy Duty - Edmonton forwards Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are the top two forwards in the league in terms of average ice time per game. Draisaitl has logged an average of 23:59 per night this season, and linemate McDavid is right behind him at 23:09. It sometimes seemed as though both players were on the ice for the entirety of the third period of Thursday's game with the Capitals at Rogers Center, and the two Oilers forwards were on the ice for the entirety of overtime.

Draisaitl and McDavid combined to score three goals in the game's last 17-plus minutes, and the duo had a hand in all four Edmonton goals as the Oilers overcame a two-goal deficit in the third period to win 4-3 in overtime.

"I think we just gave them that freedom, especially in the third," says Caps captain Alex Ovechkin. "We talked about it before [the game] and after the second. Then we go out there and make those mistakes."

Draisaitl played 10:26 in the third period and overtime, while McDavid was on the ice for 10:48 during that same stretch. McDavid skated 27:27 in Thursday's game, the most any forward has logged in any game in the league this season. Given that Edmonton's entire group of bottom six forwards entered and finished Thursday's game without a single point so far in 2019-20, one can't fault Oilers coach Dave Tippett for riding his horses hard, and putting them away wet.

The two players have combined to score 14 of Edmonton's 34 goals this season, and they've each had a hand in more than half of the Oilers goals in 2019-20.

When Draisaitl supplied the primary helper on Darnell Nurse's first-period goal for the Oilers, it halted an Edmonton drought of 165 minutes and 58 seconds without a goal.

Ovechkin brought his 'A" game as well, and the Edmonton fans were treated to an entertaining tilt featuring one of the game's biggest stars of the last decade and a half, and one that figures to be its biggest star over the next decade and a half. The Caps' captain had two goals and fired nine shots on net in Thursday's game, the highest single-game total by a Caps player this season.

Video: WSH@EDM: Ovechkin rips home 250th power play goal

McDavid broke out of a mini-slump with his three-point performance against the Caps. He entered the game scoreless in three straight games, matching the longest drought of his 298-game NHL career.

Don't Lose Your Good Thing - Holding leads has been the biggest issue plaguing the Capitals in what has been an otherwise strong month of October. The Caps have earned at least a point in 10 of 12 games this season, but they've let a third-period lead slip away like sand through fingertips in four of their five losses (7-2-3). And in three of the four games in which they lost a lead in the third, they led by two goals in the final frame.

Washington is now 6-1-3 when leading after two periods this season. No other team in the league has lost more than twice in that situation. On the positive side of the coin, the Caps have gone into the third period with a lead in 10 of their 12 games this season, and no other team has owned more than seven leads after 40 minutes of play in 2019-20.

Three Dimes Down - Washington won the season opener in overtime, rallying on the road in St. Louis and winning 3-2 on Jakub Vrana's goal in overtime. But they've lost three straight overtime decisions since, losing each of those games on an odd-man break in the extra session. Caps coach Todd Reirden pointed to poor reads on the part of his players for several breakdowns in Thursday's game, including the overtime winner.

"I'd just say again, the read on that one," says Reirden. "Going behind the net [in the offensive zone] on that one, you're not going to catch those players. And we knew that. All you have to do is watch the highlights every night to know how dangerous that combo is at 5-on-5, and every time they're on the ice. They play a bunch of minutes, and you have to be aware when they're out there, and not give them opportunities like that with a 2-on-1. Like I said, too many odd-man rushes, and that's something we've got to clean up before [Friday] night."

In two of Washington's three overtime losses this season, the Caps were beaten on the opposition's first shot on net of the extra session. The Caps have outshot the opposition by a combined 10-5 in overtime, but have obviously been outscored 3-1.

Video: Todd Reirden Postgame | October 24

The 700 Club - Caps defenseman John Carlson played in the 700th game of his NHL career on Thursday night in Edmonton, just a shade under a decade after he debuted as a 19-year-old with the Caps, on Nov. 20, 2009 against the Montreal Canadiens. On that night, Carlson became the first player born in the 1990s to pull on a Caps sweater.

On Thursday, he became the third Washington defenseman ever to play as many as 700 games with the team, joining Calle Johansson (983) and Rod Langway (726). With 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 12 games this season, Carlson is off to the most torrid start of his career.

Carlson marked the occasion of his 700th NHL game with a second-period assist on Ovechkin's first goal of the game. That helper extended Carlson's point streak to nine straight games (five goals, 13 assists), the longest of his NHL career. He is now one game shy of matching the longest point streak by a defenseman in Caps franchise history.

Robert Picard set that mark more than four decades ago in 1978-79, in his sophomore season in the NHL. Picard totaled seven goals and 19 points over a 10-game span from Dec. 17, 1978 to Jan. 9, 1979. More than a decade later, Al Iafrate matched the mark with eight goals and 22 points over a 10-game spree from Nov. 25-Dec. 12, 1992.

Carlson now has 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in the month of October, and he has two games remaining this month. Only one defenseman in league history has ever notched more points in the season's first month; Hockey Hall of Famer Al MacInnis piled up 25 points ( eight goals, 17 assists) in 13 games in 1990-91 with Calgary.

While Carlson shrugs off his hot start as a lot of good fortune, that's only partially the case. He has scored some dazzling goals (see: at Dallas on Oct. 12) and made some remarkable plays to set up goals this season, such as the one he made on Sunday night in Chicago when he supplied the primary helper on Alex Ovechkin's third-period goal.

"I think that's kind of a function of how we are playing right now, and being more aggressive down the walls," says Carlson, speaking specifically of the aforementioned Ovechkin goal. "In years past, I might not be down enough to be able to make ab play on it, it would just be whack it back around the net. But yeah, just be looking for guys always. As a [defenseman] it's a little bit easier; you get to see everyone in front of you.

"That play, usually you think about shooting first, obviously. But if there are too many bodies there, we do a good job of getting open around the net, whether it's on the back post or - that time - in the slot. I didn't think I could make it that far over, but it turned out to be a nice play."

Mr. October - With his two tallies on Thursday, Ovechkin now has 101 career goals in the month of October. Since the start of the 2005-06 season - Ovechkin's rookie year - no player has more goals in the season's first month.

Ovechkin has now scored at least 100 goals in every month of the season except February (93) and April (52).

By The Numbers - Carlson led the Caps with 25:26 in ice time … Ovechkin led the Caps with 16 shot attempts … Garnet Hathaway and Tom Wilson had three hits each to pace Washington … Dmitry Orlov, Radko Gudas, Jonas Siegenthaler and T.J. Oshie each blocked three shots to lead the Caps.

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