The pigeon's gone and so is the winning.
There are losses that are hard to watch. This really wasn't one of them. That is one hell of a hockey team they have in Washington, and for a while the Oilers actually hung in with them. I wager if they had a group of 6 NHL defensemen they may well have beaten them, but they don't.
It amazing to watch a team capable of attacking that quickly. They're truly a treat. Kuznetsov is something else. When you can make Ovechkin look like an afterthought you must be. When the time came to clamp down they were able to do so as well.
I'm not seeing how I could fault the coaching tonight. They made some adjustments and did some things better as the game went on, but combining lack of talent with getting caught up ice and taking some bad penalties meant that there were too many pucks going into the net.
The team just didn't have enough to give. I'm more okay with that than I would've been if they hadn't just won 3 in a row for sure and at least you got to watch an entertaining hockey game. That was a damn fine hockey team beating a flawed but rising hockey team that showed some fight. I can deal with that.
- He didn't really allow any bad goals. They were either breakaways or tic-tac passing plays from side to side with little defensive coverage. Sure, he didn't make a number of big saves that he maybe could have, but it wasn't on Nilsson tonight.
- He played okay, though he didn't face the chances that Nilsson did. The shot from Kuznetsov was pretty far out but he was also screened pretty badly. Tonight really hangs on this next group of guys.
- Maybe the worst game I've seen him play. He had nothing. Couldn't defend positionally, couldn't move the puck, couldn't hit. He had no hope against the skilled Capitals players. Very disappointing for a guy you'd expect to step up in a game like this. His offensive game is really slumbering right now and to see the rest of it bottoming out too is disturbing. They have no one to replace him with, so he needs to keep playing, but he almost needs to take a seat.
- Oh boy. That was something else. Schultz had no hope when the Capitals stretched the neutral zone. He couldn't read the passes, couldn't anticipate, couldn't block the lanes or recover to get back. You might as well have had a pylon back there tonight. The "jump ball" play was a classic example but I think it's being over-emphasized. Terrible that he didn't get the puck out for sure, but there was a lot of bad play throughout the whole night.
- What can you say at this point? Brutal. Gave the puck away over and over. Took stupid penalties. Cost his team. What a waste. There were at least two specific instances where Eric Gryba circled around with the puck to wait and avoid passing it to Ference. You don't see a player with limited skills do that unless his defensive partner is a total trainwreck.
- One of the only guys who played okay on the back end. He showed patience with the puck on a number of occasions and actually fought off some Capitals charges, but still could have been better.
- Yeah, he performed way below expectations tonight. Again, this was a big game and a big opportunity. You need your big money D men to step up. He along with Klefbom were easily the most disappointing defencemen. That screen of Kuznetsov's shot was weak. You either need to get out of the way or block that shot. You could attack the puck. You can't just stand there. Where's the passing? Where's the transition to the attack?
- I don't remember seeing him really. Suspect he could have defended better. Didn't catch how many SH goals he was on for.
- The only continuously dangerous line, but they couldn't find the gear in the third period. Loved the goals they scored. One hard working forecheck goal and one off a rush to the net sort of play. Very nice. Needed more. I'm glad they got more ice time. Pouliot has come around a ton. Some very nice plays. Yakupov has learned a very important lesson - he still makes mistakes but he often recovers from them very well and gets the puck back. This is really important. McDavid was McDavid. That's the new line. He makes Hopkins' top gear look slow. That's amazing. Could have done more tonight, but that's okay. What they did should have been enough really.
Hall-Hopkins-Klinkhammer and a cast of thousands.
- McClellan is struggling with his Eberle deficit combined with the fact that the above line is producing consistently. Klinkhammer actually played pretty well in the first, scoring a goal and playing a fast, physical game. I'm not sure what he did to get demoted. Maybe I missed it. Or maybe they just wanted to try to get some more offense because both Slepyshev (who again I thought looked quite good in limited time) and Purcell (who looked okay but couldn't hit the damn net) got chances. Hall I thought was okay. I'm starting to think the refs are getting in his head and that he also might be getting a bit of a reputation among the officials. He's not getting any breaks despite being a hard skating player who goes into high traffic. This is unusual. He wasn't that great with the puck though. Hopkins played another consistently even game. I'm waiting for a higher gear but he is playing well.
- Weird night for this group. Korpikoski got himself benched for something, though i'm not sure what. Bad PK work maybe? Lack of forecheck? Lander was just okay. Didn't have a good faceoff night and didn't generate offence but wasn't really making mistakes. Purcell was okay and got himself promoted. He is such a strong shooter but the accuracy is WAY off at the moment. He was better with the puck too.
- These guys didn't play much tonight aside from Slepyshev's promotion and Letestu on the powerplay. I can't really bag on them because their roles were so varied.
Any idea who the McLellan 4-5 were? I'd guess Klefbom, Ference, Schultz and Korpikoski based on deployment but due to the skill with which he delivered his comments, we don't know!
The Oilers need to be better. They can't have plays going up the middle and sneaking in behind the defence like that. Hopefully this isn't a matter of the team getting comfortable. I don't sense that from the top line or from some of the new additions, but MAYBE from some of the remaining D and remaining forwards. I guess we'll see. I think this is just a bump in the road.