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Capitals vs. Oilers Recap: Kuznetsov Carries Caps to Conquest of Oilers, 7-4

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In a game that brought back memories of wild and woolly shoot-outs in this rink in the 1980's, the Caps and the Edmonton Oilers put on quite an offensive show.

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

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The Washington Capitals and Edmonton Oilers put on quite a show in the Caps' last visit to Rexall Place. It was the Caps' first look at the Oiler's latest first overall draft pick... but it was the Caps who displayed offensive firepower in spades in this contest.

Here's Friday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Evgeny Kuznetsov. When all eyes were trained on uber-rookie Connor McDavid, it was Kuznetsov with a five-point night who was the best player on the ice.
  • Minus: Defensive discipline. Four goals allowed in the first 40 minutes, penalties in the third period, six power plays allowed. It was a ragged game in the defensive end.

Ten more notes on the game:

  • It was a statement game for Evgeny Kuznetsov. He recorded his first career hat trick and his first career five-point game. It was the league’s first five-point game this season.
  • Don’t lose this in the Kuznetsov performance, but the Caps had seven multi-point players in this game, much of it done very quietly. Except for reading this bullet, would you have thought Alex Ovechkin had a two-point game, or that Andre Burakovsky had one?
  • Kuznetsov came into the game with six assists and no goals. He ended that helper-weighted scoring line emphatically. But there was also Justin Williams, who came into this game with four assists and no goals. He got one to record his first goal as a Capital.
  • Nicklas Backstrom has appeared in four games and recorded multi-point results in three of them. He went 1-1-2 tonight.
  • The Caps had only 26 shots on goal for their seven goals, 15 of those shots cming from Kuznetsov (7), Ovechkin (4) and Williams (4).
  • Speaking of Ovechkin, on a night when the Caps put up a touchdown and an extra point, would you have thought Ovechkin would not have any of those goals? He had his five-game goals streak to open the season stopped.
  • This whole "stick to the script" thing (which we admit have been beating to death). Five shots on goal allowed in the third period, four at even strength. That’s a big part of the script.
  • That the Caps put in such an effective defensive effort in the third period is encouraging, given that this was the back-half of a back-to-back set of games on the road.
  • If I told you that the only shots on goal from defensemen were off the sticks of Brooks Orpik (1) and Karl Alzner (1), would you believe it? Believe it.
  • Not everything was unicorns and accordions, even for Kuznetsov. He was 5-for-17 in the faceoff circle and took a pair of minor penalties.

So the Caps hit the road for a three-game swing through Western Canada, come away with 16 goals, three wins, and six points. That'll do.

And now, this...

Game highlights: