The Oilers managed to hold one of the top teams in the NHL to two goals, but offence was scare in a 2-1 loss
/ EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer
WASHINGTON, DC - "It was one of those nights where you were just a little bit short," described Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.
The Oilers were able to limit one of the top offences in the League to two goals, but that was enough for the Washington Capitals to escape with their 13th straight win at home, a 2-1 decision. Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot would finish the game with 24 saves, as the Oilers outshot Washington 31-26.
"Overall, we were right there the whole game," said Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. "We still could have maybe cleaned things up a little bit but overall, we can't be upset about that one. We can't hang our heads. We played hard and that's the top team in the League right now so it kind of shows where we're at. It can give us some confidence that we played so well against this team."
The Oilers knew they would have to be on their A-game to take down the top team in the National Hockey League at home. Coming into the night, Washington had 12-straight victories at the Verizon Center, and had scored five or more in their last 11.
The Oilers, along with Talbot, helped the orange and blue weather one of the league's best first-period attacks.
Coming into the game Washington had scored the most first-period goals (65), while allowing the fewest (27) in the NHL. They'd soon improve to 35 wins when drawing first blood.
After some early back-and-forth, Washington opened the scoring at 12:22 of the first period. Tom Wilson fired a shot from the top of the circle and it banked in off the far post to make it a 1-0 game. Dmitry Orlov and former Oiler Taylor Chorney recorded the assists.
The Capitals would have made it 2-0 moments later had Talbot not trapped the puck under his body as he dropped to his back in the crease.
Late in the first, Talbot made another nice save - this time flashing the leather - to deny Orlov's hard shot.
Following that save, it was all Oilers for the rest of the first. With 3.6 seconds remaining in the frame, Edmonton tried to net a greasy one from in tight but Braden Holtby froze it.
The Oilers would enter the second down by just one, outshooting the Capitals 16-11.
Edmonton seemingly carried the momentum they were building into the second, and struck just 35 seconds into the middle frame. Leon Draisaitl sniped his 23rd of the season, assisted by Andrej Sekera and Connor McDavid, from the slot to tie the game at 1-1.
Midway through the second, the Capitals got hot again but Talbot turned them away. He made a big stop when he kicked away a Justin Williams tipped puck at 10:53, just as the Caps were racking up the chances.
The Capitals finally beat Talbot again to make it 2-1, at the 5:48 mark of the third. Justin Williams rocketed a top-shelf one-timer past the Oilers netminder for his 19th tally of the year.
The Oilers pulled Talbot with less than two minutes remaining for the extra attacker and Edmonton was able to hold onto the puck for some time in the offensive zone, but eventually the clock would run out on the visitors.
"We knew coming in it was going to be a tough task," said McLellan. "I thought we played with them most of the night. We turned the puck over a bit in the second period and they got a little momentum there. We were unable to draw any penalties to give our power play an opportunity to tie it up. But it was a pretty close game. It was back and forth, hard fought."
Edmonton's next opponent is the Nashville Predators on Sunday afternoon. This will be the second time this month the Oilers and Predators have played each other, with Nashville taking the last meeting 2-0 on February 2.