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Caps vs. Oilers Recap: Connor Who? Holtby and Defense Contain Edmonton 2-1 in Shootout

The Washington Capitals took the Edmonton Oilers to a shootout before securing the 2-1 victory Sunday night at Capital One Arena, limiting the visitors’ star players.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Washington Capitals Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals took their McDavid inoculations seriously and managed to all but shutdown the Edmonton Oilers’ high-flying offense Sunday night.

Here's Sunday night's Plus/Minus:

Plus: Reigning MVP Connor McDavid was held without a point tonight, and was effectively contained by everyone from John Carlson to Brooks Orpik to Taylor Chorney. A good collective effort from the Capitals’ D corps.

Minus: With the Oilers playing the second leg of a back-to-back, the Capitals’ lack of urgency and ruthlessness early on was disappointing.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

1. Connor McDavid, the hockey dauphin, arrived in Washington Sunday evening to face the Capitals. Would the high-flying Canadian phenom provide fireworks for the local crowd?

2. The Oilers, limping into town on the second end of a back-to-back after facing the New York Rangers yesterday in Manhattan, were certainly expected to be the more tired team in this matchup. Would the languid fangs of Fatigue be enough to slow down the fleet-footed Albertans? The Caps have struggled with back-to-backs this season; they’d look to flip the script on the Oilers.

3. The first period didn’t see much excitement, but with just a handful of seconds remaining, famed pugilist Tom Wilson challenged Edmonton’s Patrick Maroon to fisticuffs. Maroon accepted the invitation to satisfaction, and the two why-I-oughtta’d each other like leashed dogs with sufficient chain length for a while before tiring each other out to no avail. The refs stepped in, everyone cheered, and the period was over, scoreless after one.

4. But alas! A slap blast from high in the zone from Oscar Klefbom over the head of an inexplicably prone Braden Holtby gave the Oilers the first score of the game and a one-goal lead halfway through the second period. But why was Holtby prone? Why, because replay revealed that he had been inadvertently slew-footed by Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, that scoundrel! The goal was overturned upon review, and the score stayed blank.

5. Speaking of Holtby, he sparkled against the high-flying line of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. He made a flurry of dazzling stops in a row against McDavid’s line to keep this game locked in a scoreless stalemate at the end of the second period when it could have easily been much more. He’d walk away with a .967 SV% when all was said and done tonight.

6. The Oilers began the third period with the same momentum they ended the second with, and they finally got rewarded for it. Edmonton’s Jujhar Khalra stuffed home a put-back through Braden Holtby’s crease, and the Oilers were officially on the board first. There was much groaning and teeth-gnashing among the Washington faithful, and the requisite cries of Who cares?? when the score was announced were cathartic.

7. Four minutes later, the Capitals answered back with a resounding, Nyet. Tom Wilson, him with the fists, threw a beautiful no-look backhand pass to a streaking Dmitry Orlov from the half boards, and Orlov slung it high, home, and in past Edmonton’s Laurent Brossoit to tie up 1-1 with fifteen minutes to play. The goal was Orlov’s first of the year, and we hope it sets a new Russian Standard.

8. After 60 minutes, we had not yet gathered enough empirical evidence to form a conclusion, and the DC faithful were treated to some surprise free hockey in the form of OVERTIME!

9. And like getting a surprise freak sideshow at a 19th-century nickelodeon, we all got to enjoy the skills exhibition known as a shootout after the Capitals failed to register a single shot in overtime.

10. T.J. Oshie alone would score in the shootout, and the Capitals walked away 2-1 winners!

Hey, in the NHL, you have to win the pretty ones and the ugly ones. Tonight was definitely the latter, but those two points are sure just as sweet. Next up is the Predators in Nashville on Tuesday.

Game highlights: