The Washington Capitals erased a two-goal deficit to defeat the Oilers 5-2 on Saturday night
EDMONTON, AB - Any night snipers Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov come into town, there's a good chance mesh will ripple.
And despite the Oilers coming out to a two-goal lead in the opening period Saturday night against the Washington Capitals, it was Ovechkin and Kuznetsov who helped facilitate the comeback, as the Oilers were beat 5-2 and now sit with a 3-6-1 record on the season.
The comeback began with a Devante Smith-Pelly one-timer.
"That changed the momentum and gave them a little life going into the break," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "Then we came out in the second and for about the first 10 or 12 minutes we turned the puck away too much, it fed into their transition and they got going."
Ovechkin, the archetype sniper, flipped the switch and played the part of playmaker with three assists while Kuznetsov bagged a pair of third-period goals.
The Oilers fired 40 shots on goal towards Braden Holtby. Patrick Maroon and Adam Larsson were the goal scorers, while Cam Talbot made 26 saves on 30 shots on a night when Jussi Jokinen was playing his 900th career game.
The man-advantage continued to be an issue. Edmonton couldn't capitalize on four power-play opportunities but the club didn't take any penalties.
"We need to put a string of games together now," said McLellan.
Maroon opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season at 12:16, coming off a rebound after a Connor McDavid wrist shot from the left side. With the tally, Big Rig extended his point streak to five games, netting twine in four of the last five outings.
Larsson made it 2-0 Oilers with just over two minutes left in the first period. The defenceman received a pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins just within the blueline, then proceeded to take the space available and wire a wrist shot top shelf on Holtby. Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic recorded the assists.
Talbot, previously cementing his pad to the ice and stopping Kuznetsov on two attempts in-tight, did the same to Lars Ellers late in the frame. Ellers whacked at the puck incessantly but couldn't beat the Oilers keeper.
But the Oilers would squander their two-goal lead, thanks to a pair of one-timer tallies from Smith-Pelly and Lars Ellers. Smith-Pelly cracked one past Talbot with 17.8 seconds left in the first then Ellers evened the game up at 10:32 of the middle frame.
"We didn't play a full 60 minutes," said forward Drake Caggiula. "We had a really good first then let it slip away the rest of the game. We started turning pucks over at the blueline and stuff like that."
The two squads entered the third period tied at two but that was when Kuznetsov did damage.
The Russian scored twice in the final stanza to register his second and third goals of the campaign. He's prone to playing well in Edmonton and he shared the reason why post-game.
"It's my favourite town because Jason Chimera is from this town and he's one of my big friends."
He nabbed his first of the period just 30 seconds in after Ovechkin stopped short just within the blueline of the Oilers zone, then sifted the puck at the net for his compatriot to deflect. The assist was Ovechkin's third of the night.
Kuznetsov added his second after dangling through three Oilers, then slightly losing a handle on the puck but regaining it behind Edmonton's net to sneak it through Talbot, whose pad was just off the left post.
Edmonton did all they could to mount a late comeback, attempting to go 6-on-4 when awarded a power play late but it wasn't enough.
Jay Beagle added an empty-netter late to make it 5-2 Washington.
The Oilers host the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday.