BLH Post Gamer- G8 Edmonton Oilers Vs Washington Capitals

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Tonight was a big test for the Edmonton Oilers, coming in on a three game winning streak and beating the Red Wings last game rather convincingly. But man oh man was it just a gong show from the puck drop, we knew it was going to be a shootout with the Capitals but I just didn’t expect it to be a slaughter. Washington was coming off a back to back and was starting their back up, Phillip Grubauer. Edmonton should have came out and forced the puck down their throats and wore them down as much as possible. Instead they tried to skate with them and continued to let Washington find themselves and keep themselves in the game. I felt maybe it was too much confidence coming into the game off a winning streak and at home, as well as not being fully prepared for tonight’s game.

Tonight the Washington Capitals used their speed, simple passes and broke out of their zone with ease and really exposed the Oilers defence. It was not a good night and it didn’t start off well as Washington CAPITAL-ized on a beautiful passing play finished off by Kuznetzov, who would go on to add two more and tack on two apples for a 5 point night. Credit to the Oilers though, they continued to battle back going shot for shot, goal for goal. The Oilers were matching the caps speed and utilizing it by continually putting pucks behind the defenders, winning the battles and getting a cycle or at the very least a strong possession shift. The first period was pretty well even though the Oil were down by 1 going into the second, they still managed to keep the shots even and there were no signs of capitulation.

Right off the bat in the 2nd they had a quick strike to tie it up! A power play goal coming from the RED HOT Connor McDavid. The crowd was jacked but it seemed all to all go down hill from there. The Oilers were caught flat footed and they were puck watching almost every chance they got. The legs just weren’t underneath them.

The Oilers had their moments in the second frame with a few power plays they should have capitalized on, but once again these were the demise of their own momentum. The Capitals potted 3 quick goals that went unanswered and that was that. I’m not sure Anders Nilsson could have done much on most of them, as he was getting little to no help all night. But that’s not to say he was standing on his head like the previous two games. Tonight no one was doing anyone any favors, even with an offence scoring 4 goals it appeared that everyone was falling complacent on the defensive side of the puck. A lot of the times tonight everyone o the ice seemed to be in La La Land as they were being hypnotized by the puck movement and skill of this veteran-laden Capitals team and it gave the Caps’ power house offence even more room to play with in the offensive zone.

It’s odd saying that the effort just wasn’t there, especially when you score four goals but the 3rd period was chalked full of uninspiring hockey. I mean anytime you score four you should be skating away with the victory. Not only that but not scoring on a two man advantage was the nail in the coffin. Bad habits crept into everyone’s game once they got down and the boys were gripping those sticks a bit too tightly. I can only imagine the sort of talk the coaching staff had with the group after the game and what’s going to be said and done at practice tomorrow.

Tonight was a learning lesson, growing pains, that no matter who you are facing and no matter how well your offence is playing that you can’t fall complacent and forget about the defensive side of the puck as teams like the Capitals will jump on every opportunity to create a scoring chance. One of the biggest factors tonight, was the unnecessary penalties they were taking, not just because they were down 3 goals, but because it was killing any and all momentum the team was building up.

It was just a horrendous up and down game, mistake followed by another mistake, followed by another. This is going to be a game they are really going to have to learn off of, pay attention to the moments they were caught standing still and/or out of position and figure out what to do to fix it. What happened tonight is something they need to make sure they don’t build bad habits off it. Find a solution, fix it, and move onto the next game and continue to improve. The Oilers were just outmatched tonight by what is arguably the best team in the east with all do respect to the Montreal Canadiens.

Tonights Three Beer League Heroes are:

1. Evgeny Kuznetzov – This is what Capitals fans have been waiting for, tonight he showed his dynamic speed, skill and talent. 3 goals, and 2 assists accompanied with 7 shots. He was by far the best player on the ice.

2. Ryan Nugent Hopkins – He played an excellent game tonight, 1 goal, 1 assist and played a great north/south game; he was strong in his own zone, was 73% on the draws and was winning every puck battle. Nuge is starting to play more and more on the PK and is becoming a key contributor to the NHL’ s #1 PK.

3.Nicklas Backstrom – Since returning from his injury he’s been red hot, he quickly showing why he is one of the best centres in the NHL. He showed his touch and speed when he got sprung on a break away and put away the second capitals goal, finished with 1 goal and 1 assist, but he was also all over the ice tonight, creating something on every shift he was out there for.

Tonight’s Golden Plunger award goes to….!

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Teddy Purcell looked like the last few games since being demoted to the third line, that he actually found himself and was playing some solid hockey. He was playing a simple game, wasn’t trying to be too fancy and had some real nice chemistry with Korpi and Lander, that was until tonight, and when he got moved up on the top line and it seemed he was killing every drive up the ice, anything positive he was seemingly destroying it. I truly had high hopes for him, but he just cant seem to find his way especially when he starts to play on the top line, maybe his confidence is shot right now, either way he’s not doing the team much good.

Andrew Ference is in the same boat, he played okay last game, not bad for being out 4 games. Tonight it was just brain fart after brain fart with this guy. He took two unnecessary penalties, and killed the momentum the Oilers had on both plays. Twice tonight he watched an icing get rimmed around his side of the boards and just watched it go down the ice for an icing call. There were moments he was on his D partners side of the ice, essentially leaving the middle and the other side of the ice open. If not for the smarts of RNH and McDavid at times, it could have gotten a lot uglier had those lanes been wide open.

Overall tonight was just a bit of a disaster, there isn’t much more to say on tonight other than to make sure something like this never happens again. They need to be more disciplined against teams like this, stay focused and stick to the game plan and make sure they stay defensively aware and stick to the defensive side of the puck. The shots were kept low tonight, but there were just too many high quality scoring chances, no matter who’s in net, its hard when thats all you’re stopping all night.

The next game is this Sunday against the surging LA Kings who have won 4 straight, after starting the season 0-3. In the past few years the Oilers have always had trouble facing the big bad Kings. But how the mighty don’t seem so mighty anymore. With a new system in place, bigger defence and a much better offensively structured system accompanied by solid goaltending should, in theory, make this game a lot different than years past.

Tyler Toffoli ,the Kings leading scorer, is on fire as of late and if the Edmonton Oilers’ defence can keep his line and him in check, they should be able to walk out of there with a win. The game plan against the Kings isn’t going to be to dump and chase, but to use their speed, work the puck down low and keep their feet moving and cause the slower Kings to put themselves out of position. This will keep Kings’ netminder Jonathan Quick from moving side to side. They will really need to work the points in this game, activating when they can to create that 4th forward situation and getting as many pucks through on net, while crashing the crease. Jonathan Quick has a temper and hates nothing more then traffic in front of him and the Oilers need to exploit that and put some pucks past him.

Thanks you for reading everyone! I know tonight was a rough game, but let me know what you think by getting in touch with me on Twitter @madi39 or in the comments section below!

Madison Moroz Written by:

  • oilcountryforlife

    second last paragraph, first sentence, you have two issues with there and their.

    • Beer League Hero

      Thanks! We’ll get that sorted.

    • Madison Moroz

      Thank you Oil country for life, I appreciate the read! and the politeness on the spelling mistake, i have fixed it!

      GO OILERS!