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Capitals Takeaways

Takeaways: Backstrom Hits 1K & Oshie Clutch, But Capitals Can’t Best Oilers



Capitals forward T.J. Oshie

It was a wild night for the Washington Capitals in Edmonton. The team saw several chances, a back-and-forth tilt, a major milestone reached and a buzzer-beater, but the Capitals couldn’t overcome overtime.

Washington was on a three-game winning streak heading into this game and could have hit a season-high with four consecutive victories. Nicklas Backstrom hit the millennium mark and T.J. Oshie added two goals — including one with just 1.8 seconds to go, but a Connor McDavid OT winner on a 2-on-1 resulted in a 4-3 loss.

Here are all the takeaways from the defeat:

Oshie Beats The Buzzer, Puts On Show For Capitals

Since returning to the lineup, Oshie has undoubtedly injected more energy into the lineup. He came up huge again for the Capitals, who were swarming for a win in Edmonton.

In the third period, Oshie struck on the power play to give Washington its first PPG of the night and Backstrom his 1,000th career point. Soon after, though, Brad Malone scored his first goal in six years — in the third to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead in the third.

In the dying minutes of regulation, the Capitals put on the pressure and were swarming the net, and luckily for Washington, Oshie wasn’t done for the night. With just 1.8 seconds left in the game, Oshie wired a shot past Mikko Koskinen to make it 3-3 and send the game to overtime for the Capitals and secure a point for the team.

No. 77 ended the night with two goals and an assist. He now has eight goals and 10 assists through 25 games, which would put him on pace for 59 points in a regular season.

Backstrom Hits 1K Mark For Capitals

Backstrom was a man on a mission heading into Wednesday’s tilt, moving his feet and utilizing his speed and vision. His first goal came off a great play in front, where he caught the Oilers by surprise with a quick backhander to give Washington a 1-0 lead and his 999th career point.

Later on, he’d pick up a helper on a John Carlson power-play strike that was waved off for offsides. However, he would get it later, when T.J. Oshie struck on the man advantage in the third period on a good play. Backstrom fittingly picked up that 1,000th point on a primary helper and a great pass through the neutral zone.

The Swede now has points in five of his last six games and five goals and 15 assists through 26 appearances this season.

Samsonov Solid As Oilers Pile On Pressure

Although he surrendered three goals, Ilya Samsonov looked strong in his first game since Feb. 28. The 25-year-old was busy from the start, as the Oilers tilted the ice in their favor to open the game. By the end of the first period, Edmonton already had 20 shots on goal — Washington managed just nine to open the first — and Samsonov stopped all of them.

Overall, Samsonov was moving well, tracking the puck and jumping on rebounds. He ended up stopping 36 of 40 shots (.900 save percentage). He has been strong on the road this season, and it was an important game with Vitek Vanecek recently taking back control of the crease in his return from injury. The young netminder certainly gave it his best shot and kept the Capitals in the game.

Chances Are There, But Ovechkin, Capitals Can’t Convert And Fall In OT

The Capitals definitely saw scoring chances. Alex Ovechkin was on the hunt for his 767th career goal to pass Jaromir Jagr for sole possession of third on the NHL’s all-time goals list, but he couldn’t find twine. Coming into Wednesday’s game, he had goals in three straight games (four goals in that span).

Through 21:21 minutes, Ovechkin led Washington with a whopping eight shots on goal.

The Capitals also got four power-play opportunities and moved the puck fairly well. However, they couldn’t execute and ultimately went 1-for-4 on the man advantage. Of course, one of those PPGs was waved off.

Koskinen also had a couple of strong saves to shut down the Capitals, who piled on 32 shots.

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Evgeny Kuznetsov led all skaters with 23 minutes of ice time.
  • John Carlson picked up a pair of helpers and now has seven assists in his last five games. His 47 points on the season rank seventh among defensemen.
  • Lars Eller had an outstanding night in the faceoff dot, winning 10 of 11 draws (91 percent).
  • Nick Jensen led the team with four hits.
  • Nic Dowd came up big with a team-leading three blocks.