Mike Green - Once again, I thought Mike Green played a spectacular game. I think Barry Trotz's main goal with Green this season was to get him right back on track to his offensive ways, something he had gotten away from in the past few seasons. Green doesn't have the defensive pressure that he's had in the past few seasons, due mainly to the additions of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. In fact, he's got the second lowest total on ice competition percentage on the team, meaning he's not getting that much time against the oppositions top lines. That's perfect, as Green has always dominated possession and generates shots. His goal tonight gives him three total in five games, and Green is fifth in the league with six points.
Nick Backstrom and Marcus Johansson On the Power Play - I could probably include something from the power play as a positive for every single game, but tonight the positives were from Nick Backstrom and Marcus Johansson. I mean, these two might just be the second and third most deadly power play players in the league, behind only Ovechkin. Johansson can just have a field day behind the net. He just has so many options. He can stuff attempt it himself, he can feed whoever is sitting in the slot, or he can dish it back to Backstrom. Backstrom has even more options. He can take it himself, feed it back to Johansson, feed it to whoever is in the slot, slide it over to John Carlson, or, if the defense is really caught sleeping, fire it over to Ovechkin. But what he does, and I love this, is he calmly holds the puck and inches towards the net. It freaks the defense out. It is widely known that this is the best power play unit in the league, and if nothing is happening, panic begins to set in. And Backstrom is just calm as can be.
Overall Defense - The defense played pretty well tonight. I mean, they held Edmonton to just 20 shots on goal. Considering last year they averaged 33.5 shots against, that's pretty excellent. And that's the sixth time this year they've held their opponents under 30 shots....which just so happens to be every game this season. That is extremely refreshing.
Dumb Luck - I mean, that's seriously what this was. The Capitals fired away at Scrivens and the Oilers, but they just simply couldn't score tonight. If you are leading your opponent 34 to 20 in shots on goal, you should win the game, like, 99 percent of the time. But they were just unlucky tonight. In fact, the Caps PDO tonight was .909, while the Oilers was 1.09. Not going to win many games if there is that drastic of a difference.
Alex Ovechkin - Is he playing poorly this season? Absolutely not. Did he play poorly tonight? Yeah, it wasn't his best game. It was Ovechkin who fanned on the shot immediately after Green's goal, which allowed Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to coast his way to the net, ultimately leading to the Oilers second goal. But, that wasn't my only issue with Ovechkin. He had just two shots on goal tonight, as many as Nate Schmidt. Ovechkin just needs to fire away at all times. He is bound to score if he's ripping five, six, seven, eight shots a game. This was just a fluky game for him, although it is a bit concerning that this is his second consecutive game with just two shots on net.
Braden Holtby - It wasn't one of his better games, which is disappointing considering his parents were in the stands. I'll give him the first goal. That was a great setup pass for the Justin Schultz goal, who basically had a layup to give the Oilers the early 1-0 lead. The second goal was questionable. He had a clear path of vision on the Nugent-Hopkins shot, but just straight up missed it. I'm willing to bet he'd love that one back. And the power play goal was pretty difficult as well. He was screened heavily in front of the net, and Nikita Nikitin shot the puck on edge. It looked like it dipped, curved or deflected off of Carlson. So two out of three were understandable. But I have such high expectations for Holtby this year that it has just become expected for me to think he will be perfect, which isn't fair, but I don't care.
Possession (Via hockeystats.ca)
Top Five Corsi-For Percentage at Even Strength
- Nicklas Backstrom - 80% (33% offensive zone start)
- Troy Brouwer - 78% (33% offensive zone start)
- Alex Ovechkin - 76% (33% offensive zone start)
- Michael Latta - 75% (67% offensive zone start)
- Marcus Johansson - 73% (60% offensive zone start)
- Jason Chimera - 50% (29% offensive zone start)
- Joel Ward - 54% (25% offensive zone start)
- Eric Fehr - 57% (17% offensive zone start)
- Evgeny Kuznetsov - 58% (67% offensive zone start)
- John Carlson - 61% (29% offensive zone start)
Goal - John Carlson (PP) (1)
- Assists- Nicklas Backstrom (5, and his 500th career point), Marcus Johansson (1)
Goal - Mike Green (3)
- Assists - Andre Burakovsky (4)
Braden Holtby - 17 saves on 20 shots, .850 save percentage
Quote of the Night
"The second goal has no business going in. That's the difference in the game. It's just a shot that shouldn't go in. You know, your job as a goalie is to make them beat you with a good shot. I opened up. I misread the shot. Puck goes through me, through my seven hole, and you can't get beat there. It's a play I need to make up for, when we turn the puck over. My job is to make up with that, and I didn't." - Braden Holtby, talking about the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins goal.