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Capitals vs Oilers Recap: Caps Snap Skid, Beat Oilers 5-4

Strome scores twice and Ovechkin scores number 788 as the Caps put an end to their four-game losing streak with a victory over Edmonton.

Edmonton Oilers v Washington Capitals Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers are in town tonight to face Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. The Caps are riding a four-game losing streak into tonight’s matchup, but the Oilers have lost two in a row. Which streak will blink first?

Tonight’s edition of the Capitals’ lineup looked like this:

Dmitry Orlov was listed as a game-time decision this morning, but he was not on the ice for warmups. With Orlov out, Lucas Johansen makes his season debut. Nicolas Aube-Kubel is making his Capitals debut tonight on Washington’s third line with Anthony Mantha and Lars Eller. In net, it’s backup vs backup with Charlie Lindgren facing off against Stuart Skinner.

Here’s Monday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Erik Gustafsson really stepped up tonight with Washington’s top two defenders out of the lineup. He looked particularly good QB-ing the power play.

Minus: Once again, the Capitals had a strong second period followed by a not-so-great third period. Fortunately it did not come back to bite them tonight, but this trend is still worrisome.

And now, welcome to DC, Aube-Kubel!

Twelve more notes on the game:

1. It looked like Sonny Milano got his first goal as a Capital with 8:15 to go in the first, but it just missed crossing the line. The puck hit the underside of the crossbar but, unlike Nick Ritchie’s goal on Saturday, it came down just on the wrong side of the goal line. This was definitely a lucky break for Stuart Skinner, who was completely beaten on the effort from Milano. A silver lining to this? We got a preview of Milano’s choice of goal song and it’s perfect: “Walking On Sunshine”.

2. With 1:45 left in the first, Dylan Strome put the Caps on the board for real with an absolutely incredible play by the boards. Call the police, because he committed grand larceny on Warren Foegele. Foegele was trying to get the puck out of the zone, but Strome said “I think not!” and stripped the puck clean. If that wasn’t enough, he doubled back towards the net and fired one heck of a short-side shot over Skinner’s blocker and bar-down.

Alexa, play “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World.

3. Just 17 seconds after Strome’s tally, Ryan Murray was called for a careless hi-stick on Nicolas Aube-Kubel to give Washington the game’s first power play. 26 seconds into the second, who else but Dylan Strome cashed in on the carryover PP time with his second goal of the game. Evgeny Kuznetsov fired the puck on net, and Strome was in the perfect position for a net-front redirect just over Skinner’s right pad.

Strome now has six power play points (2G, 4A) this season, which is tied with Alex Ovechkin for the most on the team. The Caps have also now scored PPGs in four of their last five games, which is particularly impressive considering all of the usual power players missing from the lineup. 2-0 Washington early in the second.

4. With just over 12 minutes left in the second, Ryan McLeod and Evgeny Kuznetsov were called for coincidental minors to set up some four-on-four hockey. McLeod’s original interference on Kuznetsov was not called, but as soon as Kuznetsov retaliated with a cross-check they both went to the box. Connor McDavid saw the open ice and said, “Thank you very much!” It took him 41 seconds to get the Oilers on the board; he evaded the Caps defense with one deke and tucked the puck around Charlie Lindgren’s outstretched leg with another.

5. With 8:05 left on the clock in the second, Zach Hyman was called for hooking on Martin Fehervary. Just 9 seconds later, Kailer Yamamoto also took a trip to the box for hooking, this time on Anthony Mantha. Easy call, time for some five-on-three. This is only the second time this season the Caps have had a two-man advantage; the first one resulted in a T.J. Oshie PPG. This time, it was Evgeny Kuznetsov converting on the five-on-three. Strome set him up perfectly with a beautiful cross-crease pass, and Kuzy found the back of the net for his first goal of the season. The quick puck movement meant Skinner had no chance on the play, 3-1 Caps.

6. Just after Yamamoto’s penalty expired, the Oilers got one back with a goal from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Zach Hyman drove hard to the net and set Nugent-Hopkins up for a baseball-style goal, showing off his hand-eye coordination and batting the puck out of mid-air and past Lindgren.

7. Cody Ceci took a seat for interference on Garnet Hathaway with 5:29 to go in the second, and it took Alex Ovechkin all of five seconds to score on the power play with a wrist shot from his office. Goal 788. Simply put: he is inevitable.

Welcome to The List™, Stuart Skinner – that’s 163 different goalies that Ovi has scored on. Also of note on this tally: Erik Gustafsson recorded his third power play assist of the night, making this his third career three-point game.

8. The Caps’ lead was cut in half just under three minutes into the third period with a goal from Leon Draisaitl. The puck took a weird bounce off Ovechkin’s skate right to Zach Hyman, who made a nifty spin-o-rama pass to Draisaitl from the slot. Draisaitl was wide open to Lindgren’s left and did not waste the opportunity. Deep breath, Caps fans. 4-3 Caps with 17:06 remaining.

9. Ovechkin did not score on this attempt, but it deserves a bullet point of its own because come ON.

10. Erik Gustafsson took a hooking penalty on McDavid just over halfway through the third, giving the Oilers their first power play of the game. Edmonton’s power play is at 31.9% on the season, which is second-best in the league. Washington’s PK stepped up big time though, and the Oilers did not record a shot on goal on their man-advantage. Still 4-3 Capitals with 7:37 to go.

11. The Caps got another power play opportunity with 2:21 left after Evan Bouchard was called for hi-sticking Anthony Mantha. 30 seconds in, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his second of the night (and the season) off an absolute highlight-reel pass from Ovechkin. Kuznetsov broke out the bird celly on this one, and it was well-deserved.

Make that a four-point night for Evgeny Kuznetsov, folks. That’s also the fourth PPG of the night for the Caps.

12. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made things interesting with 66 seconds left to bring Edmonton within one again with a goal down in front. Fortunately, the Capitals held on for the 5-4 win.

Up next for the Caps: the season’s first meeting with the Penguins on Wednesday at 7:30 ET.