EDMONTON, AB - Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens turned in a 32-save performance as Edmonton held on to win 3-2 over the visiting Washington Capitals. It was the Oilers first win over the Capitals since October 27, 2011.
Justin Schultz opened the scoring at 6:53 of the first period. Teddy Purcell backhanded a pass from the corner out in front of the net to the streaking defenceman. Schultz found twine behind Braden Holtby for the 1-0 lead. David Perron recorded the second assist.
“Whenever I get the opportunity to jump in I’m going to try and do that,” Schultz said. “It helps the forwards out, finding another guy. They’re such great passers that if I jump in they’re going to find me.”
With Matt Hendricks in the penalty box for a tripping call against Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals tied the game. John Carlson scored at 10:15 on a one-timer. He was set up by a Nicklas Backstrom pass. The assist was Backstrom’s 500th career point in his 501st game. Marcu Johansson earned the second assist and the game was tied at 1-1.
“It would have been nicer if we won, so I don’t really think about it right now,” Backstrom said.
With 6:31 remaining in the first period, Hendricks and Capitals rookie Liam O’Brien collided by the benches. The two dropped their gloves in a spirited fight that fired up the Rexall Place crowd.
Hendricks is a part of an Oilers line with Boyd Gordon and Jesse Joensuu. The trio is off to a solid start to the season, and that continued against the Capitals.
Late in the first period, Joensuu came out of the penalty box after a high-sticking call and picked up the puck, skating it down the wing. The big forward mishandled the puck for a second, recovered and then fired a quick shot high on Holtby from the slot. The whistle blew play dead, however the puck might have been slipping out of Holtby’s grasp.
That line finished the first period with three of the Oilers 10 shots on goal.
Mike Green gave Washington the lead at 4:50 of the second period with a wrister from the high slot, assisted by Andre Burakovsky.
The Oilers responded just 20 seconds later to tie the game at 2-2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took an Ovechkin turnover the other way and fired a snap shot on Holtby from the right wing face-off dot for the equalizer.
“That was big,” Schultz said of Nugent-Hopkins’ goal. “It was a big momentum shift for us there and for us to get that goal right back and get the fans back into it was huge for us.”
At 15:11 of the second, Jason Chimera took a slashing penalty against Hall. The Oilers would score on the power play to take back the lead.
After some nifty cycling in the offensive zone, a loose puck bounced out in the open. Defenceman Nikita Nikitin stepped into a heavy slap shot and let it rip past Holtby at 16:11 of the middle frame. Purcell earned his second assist of the night and Leon Draisaitl got the secondary helper.
With just over 30 seconds remaining in the second period, Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens made a huge stop on a shot from in close at the top of the crease. The Oilers would head into the third trying to protect a one-goal lead.
In the opening five minutes of the third period, Ovechkin flashed his elite skill when he broke in on Scrivens but the netminder made the save to maintain the slim lead. The Capitals opened the third period with seven-straight unanswered shots as they peppered Scrivens.
“In the third, we play too much on our heels,” Oilers Captain Andrew Ference said. “We definitely shouldn’t make too much of a habit trying to hold onto leads like that. They are a very high-powered team and they came hard at us. In the third there, they were definitely seeking out that tying goal. Scrivey, we needed him a lot there in the third a little too much. Some of those nights that’s going to happen, your goalie is going to grab that point for you or hold those points for you.”
The Oilers goaltender did his part to keep them at bay. In fact, Scrivens made 13 saves in the third period to close out the Oilers second straight win.