The Capitals took it to the Edmonton Oilers once again this season. At first it was in the Verizon Center and last night it was on the road in Edmonton, but similar results. Washington defeated the Oilers October 14th 4-2, last nights final was 4-1. Similar result for the Caps, but in a more impressive team effort all together. The Caps have gained momentum from their big shootout win the other night in Winnipeg and have won both games on the road so far on the five game road tour.
For the majority of the season thus far, the Caps have been reliant on their power play unit to score their goals due to their struggles in the five on five game. That wasn’t the case last night as all four of the Caps goals came during five on five play. It opened up just under two minutes left to go in the first period when Alex Ovechkin scored his 10th goal of the season. Nicklas Backstrom won the face off and Marcus Johansson found Ovechkin for the open shot in the high slot. Alex Ovechkin has scored 32 goals in his last 31 regular season games, which is the best streak of his career. He is off to the best start to a regular season of his career, which is scary to think about since he is coming off an MVP award winning season, his third Hart Trophy of his career. While the first line was making plays, the third line which has been consistently a hard working line all season, made its plays as well.
Just under five minutes left in the second period, John Carlson threw the puck toward the net with traffic in front. Jason Chimera and Joel Ward were in front of Dubnyk when Ward got a piece of Carlson’s shot and got a deflection to go in the net. Joel Ward got his third goal of the season on the deflection and defensemen Carlson and Alzner were accredited with the assists. Washington went into the locker room after two periods with a two-goal lead on the road.
There was no let down by the Capitals offense to start the third period. Nicklas Backstrom recorded his second goal of the season on a nice tic-tac toe passing play from line mates Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson. That was one minute and a half into the period, silencing the already quiet Edmonton crowd for the rest of the game. Then with just under seven minutes to go in the third period, Jason Chimera got his second goal of the season with the help of a nice pass from Mikhail Grabovski. Goalie Braden Holtby has seen his save percentage increase over the last few games as he is starting to over come his early season struggles. Last night Holtby was once again dominant, with a 31 save performance, especially in the penalty kill. It is very fortunate for a defense when your best penalty killer is your goalie and Holtby was just that last night. The penalty kill unit for Washington has been outstanding as of late, not allowing a power play goal in the last sixteen opportunities. Special teams have been a strength of this hockey team so far whether it’s the offense on the power play or the defense on the penalty kill. Last night showed the Caps are starting to become a better hockey team then just a one trick pony with their stellar power play. The Caps scored in all sorts of ways in their five on five game: in transition, traffic in front of the net and crisp passing through the slot. It is encouraging that Washington is finding their rhythm on the road and are riding a three game win streak into Calgary. The Caps begin game three of the five game road trip this Saturday in Calgary at 10pm. It will be interesting to see if they can add to this three game win streak and keep gaining momentum.