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RECAP: Capitals 1, Oilers 0

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

WASHINGTON, DC – Braden Holtby made 33 saves for Washington as the Capitals held on to beat the Oilers 1-0.

In their first meeting of the season, it was a lot of goals. This time, the scoring was few and far between.

“You can’t take anything away from Holtby, he made some extremely good saves but we had a 2-on-0 and we didn’t even get a shot off,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “Power play was somewhat dangerous at times, I think we can be better in that area. When I look at the game, we don’t get the points but I think we’ve improved from a month ago when we played against them. We certainly have defensively. Offensively, we created enough to come away with a win but we just didn’t get it done.”

When these two teams met on October 23, there were five goals scored in the opening period. This time around, the Oilers and Capitals played much more defensive as it took until 13:28 of the third before a team potted one.

It was the first time all year the Oilers have played a game that’s remained scoreless after 40 minutes. Both Edmonton and Washington came into the game among the top five teams in NHL third period scoring.

The Oilers had an opportunity to cease the lead in the second when Nicklas Backstrom earned a double-minor for a high stick giving Edmonton a long man advantage. However, the Capitals own one of the best penalty kill units in the NHL and goaltender Braden Holtby helped his team weather the storm.

Although the game was scoreless after two, the Oilers had their share of chances. Edmonton outshot the Caps 23-15 in the first two periods, but couldn’t break Holtby.

Holtby made an incredible glove save on Oilers defenceman Eric Gryba with 11:46 remaining in the third and then Oilers goaltender Anders Nilsson made a few big saves of his own as the game opened up a bit.

“I almost think we were the better team today,” said Nilsson. “It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to score but I think Holtby stood up and played a great game for them and won the game.”

A Dmitry Orlov slap shot broke the scoring at 13:28 of the third and gave Washington a 1-0 lead. Tom Wilson and Brooks Laich recorded the assists.

That was all for the offence as Holtby finished the game with 33 saves in the shutout. Nilsson stopped 29 shots.

“I thought we locked things down pretty good and as a result of being positionally sound we got a number of scoring chances tonight,” said McLellan. “Tonight it wasn’t the defensive part of our game that let us down it was our lack of finish on some of the really good chances we created.”
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