Edmonton Oilers: Takeaways From Loss to Capitals

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 28: Connor McDavid. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 28: Connor McDavid. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Despite getting off to a 2-0 start in the first period, the Edmonton Oilers found themselves overwhelmed by a fast Capitals team and fell 5-2 Saturday.

Patrick Maroon scored the first goal for Edmonton, extending his point streak to five games. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl would pick up the helpers and continue their strong performances this season. Adam Larsson scored Edmonton’s second and last goal, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins adding a helper on the Swedish blueliner’s second goal of the season.

After the Oilers took a two-goal lead, the Capitals came roaring back, completely dominating the Edmonton defence. Devante Smith-Pelly scored the first goal for Washington and from that point on, his linemates in Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin, as well as Lars Eller, stole the show, scoring five unanswered goals.

With the loss, the Oilers have now dropped three of their last four decisions. Though the team seems to be getting more out of their offence, they cannot finish around the net, nor can they capitalize on their opportunities.

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers /

Edmonton Oilers

Finishing on Opportunities

The Oilers found themselves 0-for-4 on the man advantage, and they were unable to produce on the man advantage, even against the Capitals’ struggling penalty kill.

They couldn’t slow down the puck, nor could they get much past Holtby. Not to mention, they couldn’t get any chances in front of the net and weren’t able to connect on their passes.

Edmonton’s power play has just a 13.6 success rate so far this year, which is the sixth-worst in the NHL. This will have to improve as they look to get back in the win column moving forward.

The Oilers also managed 40 shots against Braden Holtby and the Capitals, but still, they couldn’t get anything past him, nor could they really make any strong plays. In fact, a lot of their passes were broken up, and the Capitals blocked 24 of their chances.

To improve here, Edmonton needs more speed, and must also get to the front of the net and show more aggression and physicality on the forecheck.

Right now, the Oilers average 2.2 goals per game, which is the second-worst in the NHL. If they can’t score, they can’t win, and they will have to work on communication and making smarter plays if they want to get the puck in the net.

Improving on Defence

Edmonton couldn’t match Washington’s speed, nor did they do much to help Cam Talbot, who stopped 27 of 31 shots. At times, the Oilers would find themselves frozen and didn’t do much to take care of the puck or keep up with Washington.

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The Oilers surrendered a number of 2-on-1 and 3-on-2 opportunities and also found themselves out of position, which ultimately hurt their defence and led to the Capitals creating more shots. Not only that, they didn’t show a lot of aggression, nor did they stand up to the opposition and work to dominate.

In the end, Talbot was left to dry, and the Oilers paid the price, as they were unable to climb back from the deficit they created for themselves.

Moving Forward

The Oilers will ready themselves for a match-up with Pittsburgh on home ice, and coming into that game, they must make smarter decisions and get off to an early start.

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After that, the Oilers have to learn to hold onto that lead and cannot allow themselves to fall victim to Pittsburgh’s speed or depth on offence. From the get-go, they need to be ready to not only get more time with the puck but to finish on their chances and stay smart in their own zone.