Oshie, Caps outlast Oilers
WASHINGTON — It should come as no shock that Braden Holtby was on the top of his game Sunday — after all, he is one of the premier goaltenders in the NHL. What was surprising, however, was that he was matched shot-by-shot by a netminder who hadn’t played in more than a month.
Laurent Brossoit, buried on Edmonton’s bench as Cam Talbot made 11 consecutive starts, started for just the second time this season and was Holtby’s equal for most of the night when goals were at a premium. But Washington’s skill proved to be too much, as T.J. Oshie scored the only goal during the shootout period to give the Capitals a 2-1 victory over the Oilers.
Brossoit, who hadn’t played since Oct. 17, knew what was coming during the shootout, but still couldn’t stop it.
“You never want to go to the shootout,” Brossoit said. “It’s funny. I was told that Oshie likes to go five-hole in the shootout. I was prepared for it and he still snuck it through.”
Holtby was strong during the shootout, turning away Mark Letestu’s last chance to win his sixth straight game and help give Washington (10-7-1) wins in five out of its last six.
“You look back and you say, you need your goalie when your team is not at their best,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “You need your goalie to save the day sometimes, and I would say (Holtby) was fantastic for us today, and gave us the chance to get not only one point but give us two points. They don’t count anything else but wins at the end of the day, so we got the two points.”
The Oilers (6-9-2) broke a scoreless tie 92 seconds into the third period when, during a scrum in front of Holtby, Capitals forward Alex Chiasson deflected the puck into his own net. Jujhar Khaira got credit for the tally for Edmonton, his first goal of the season.
The previously listless Capitals answered less than four minutes later, when defenseman Dmitry Orlov teamed up with Tom Wilson on a beautiful give-and-go, with Orlov beating Brossoit glove-side to even the score at 1-1. The tally ended a 26-game scoreless streak for Orlov, who last registered a goal on March 23 of last season.
“We tried to play smart, we tried to play more with the puck,” Orlov said. “If we do that, we have success.”
Holtby was on top of his game in his first start since picking up his 200th career victory, racking up 29 saves, including a flurry at the end of the second period when he registered three pad stops in a row against Patrick Maroon, causing the veteran winger to break his stick upon his return to the bench.
“That was a pretty stupid sequence,” Wilson said. “It’s amazing every night you get to watch him. It’s an absolute treat. He’s one of the elite goalies. We’re lucky to have him back there kicking for us, and we have to do our best to complement him.”
Brossoit did his part for the Oilers, with 18 saves despite being somewhat rusty.
“After not playing for a while, it all kind of feels new again,” he said.
The Oilers looked as if they had broken the scoreless drought eight minutes into the second period when Oscar Klefbom took a feed from Jesse Puljujarvi at the point and blasted a shot through traffic and past Holtby. However, the Capitals quickly challenged the goal, and replay review showed that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ skate clipped Holtby as he went through the crease, and the goal was waved off.
Washington had a solid chance later in the period as Chandler Stephenson broke free in the Oilers’ zone, but winger Iiro Pakarinen poked the puck away before Stephenson was able to get off a shot.
Despite the loss, the Oilers earned points in three of the four games on their road swing against Metropolitan Division opponents.
“This swing isn’t easy. We’ll take the five of eight (points),” Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. “We wish we could have got more. But now we’ve got a real test ahead of us going home where we haven’t performed well.”
NOTES: F Patrick Maroon and F Tom Wilson were involved in a long fight shortly before the end of the first period, with both players landing major blows. ... Capitals RW Brett Connolly had 6:29 of ice time in his first game back after missing seven contests with a concussion. ... Washington’s scratches were LW Nathan Walker and D Aaron Ness. The Oilers scratched D Eric Gryba and LW Jussi Jokinen.