Capital Punishment (5 p.m. MT, SNW) – OILERSNATION

The Edmonton Oilers haven’t had much success in Washington. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the oldest Oilers player on the roster, has won once in Washington since entering the NHL in 2011/12. Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Darnell Nurse have never won a match in the American capital.

Success in Washington hasn’t come easy for the Oilers organization. Edmonton is 11-23-2 (tie-2 OTL) all-time. In the 1980s, Edmonton was 7-9-1, but the last 32 years since have been horrible. Edmonton is 4-14-1-2 since 1990. They are 2-8-2 in the 2000s. In their 12 visits this century, the Oilers have been shut out four times, scored a goal twice and two goals three times.

Tonight, the Oilers skate to Washington with points in their last five games going 4-0-1. Edmonton has had a better record lately, but still has areas of their game that need improvement. Scoring in the top nine and on the power play are two areas that need to be shaken up.

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Edmonton is 4-4-2 in its last 10 while Washington is 5-5. If you look at the 5×5 numbers, Edmonton has been playing better lately.

TEAM generalist HR % FF% SF% GF% xGF% FCS % SCGF % HDCF % HDGF% SH % SV% PDO
Edmonton ten 55.23 53.88 52.7 56.1 53.11 53.28 58.82 52.02 54.55 8.42 92.65 1.011
Washington ten 50.75 50.73 50.42 53.13 50.25 51.57 53.85 51.35 58.33 7.14 93.59 1.007

However, their special teams in the last 10 games have been absolutely abysmal.

Edmonton 22 3 13.6% 27 11 59.3%
Washington 26 5 19.2% 33 ten 69.7%

Edmonton was unable to score on the power play and they are losing goals for fun on the PK. Washington PK haven’t been much better, so maybe Edmonton PP can gain some confidence tonight. In 2022, only Evan Bouchard (two goals against Calgary) and Zack Kassian (late in PP against OTT) scored on the power play. Connor McDavid leads the Oilers with nine PP shots, while Leon Draisaitl has eight. But their shot/60 ratios are down from the first 21 games of the season when the power play was on fire.

In the first 21 games, Draisaitl had 24.7 shots/60 and McDavid was at 20.6. Draisaitl scored 10 goals and McDavid five. But since then, the two have shot less, and the success of the PP has also declined. Over the past 20 games, Draisaitl has three goals and 17.85 shots/60, while McDavid has zero goals and 15.44 shots/60.

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These two need to be the main shooters and the PP need more movement like they did earlier this season.

Vitek Vanecek left last night’s game early in the first period and was replaced in goal by Ilya Samsonov. Samsonov took the win, stopping 43 of 45 shots. The only two goals he allowed came on the power play. The Capitals recalled Pheonix Copley from the taxi team today, so Samsonov will be the starter. Copley has not played in the NHL this season. Samsonov was brilliant last night but has struggled to be consistent this season with a 0.906sv% and 2.76 average. In 13 of his 20 starts, he posted a lower .906Sv%.



Foegele – Shore – Kassian

Nurse – Bouchard
Keith Ceci


Tyson Barrie returns to the lineup on the blue line while Tippett has shuffled his lines. Ryan McLeod goes up with Draisaitl, Derek Ryan will play with RNH and Devin Shore will center Warren Foegele and Zack Kassian. Foegele getting knocked down and Ryan and McLeod going up makes sense based on recent play. Foegele has struggled to score, while Ryan and McLeod have produced of late.

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McDavid went 19 games without having a three-pointer. He has 19 points in his last 19 games and has seven games with two points, five with one and seven with zero. McDavid has been so productive over the past four seasons that it’s odd not to have scored three points in 19 games.

During his rookie season, he went 24 games without scoring three points. He had eight games with zero points, 11 with one and five with two.

The following season, between December 3, 2016 and January 16, 2017, he played 21 games. He had 10 games with zero points, five with one and six with two.

Since then, he hasn’t gone 20 games without having at least one three-pointer. Here’s a breakdown of his points in those 345 games.

75 matches with zero points.
112 games with a point.
91 games with two points.
47 games with three points.
14 games with four points.
Five games with five points.
A game with six points.

He had more two-point games than zero-point games.

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He was incredibly productive. In 19.4% of games he scored more than three-pointers and that’s why he went 19 games without a three-pointer night catching my eye.

In the first 21 games of this season, McDavid has produced:

Two games without points.
Six games with one point.
Seven games with two points.
Four games with three points.
Two games with four points.

Is it tonight that it bursts?



Van Riemsdyk–Schultz


Alex Ovechkin was placed under COVID protocol today and will miss tonight’s game as well as All-Star Weekend. Losing Ovechkin is a blow for the Capitals as he leads them with 29 goals and 58 points. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson are tied for second on the Capitals with 13 goals. It’s horrible timing for those who like to see the best players in the game play. Ovechkin has been my favorite player for years and it would have been fun to see him take on Draisaitl and McDavid. But his absence is a big break for the Oilers.

The Capitals are in Edmonton on March 9 and hopefully Ovechkin will be in the roster.

The Capitals were very stingy in the first period. They allowed 29 goals in 46 games, and only Pittsburgh was better at allowing 25 goals in 46 games. The Capitals allowed 52 goals in the second period, 35 in the third and seven in overtime. Are they struggling with the long shift? It seems so. Something to watch tonight.

Photoshop: Tom Kostuk

MATCH DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton picks up a rare win at Washington with a 5-3 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTIONS: Both teams score a PP goal while both PK units are struggling.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS PREDICTIONS FOR GAME DAY: Foegele scores a goal in a game for the third time in the last 34 games.

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