The Washington Capitals were riding a team-record 7-game winning streak to start the season into Edmonton to face the Oilers. The Caps, however, could not make it eight in a row as the team ran into a buzzsaw by the name of Nikolai Khabibulan as they fell 2-1.
The Capitals struck first at thanks to Karl Alzner a little over 5 minutes into the game. The Caps would continue to attack the net all night, but that first goal would be all they would get for the night. As the Caps continued to scrap, penalties were bound to take place.
The Oilers got on the board during a 4-on-3 power play late in the first period. They dissected the exposed Capitals defense with fantastic passing and Taylor Hall would up scoring the game-tying goal with a little under 2 minutes left in the period.
Penalties again came back to haunt the Capitals in the second period as Edmonton struck again, this time putting them in the lead for good. After a bad penalty on Marcus Johansson for closing his hand on the puck, Edmonton scored 40 seconds into the power play as Jordan Eberle tallied his second goal of the year.
The Caps searched for a game tying goal the rest of the game, and despite out-shooting the Oilers 35-19 couldn’t muster a second goal. They weren’t short on chances, either. Khabibulan looks to have rebounded off an atrocious 2010-11 campaign, and at age 38 looks to have found a fountain of youth to bring him back to his glory years. His .971 save percentage tonight raised his save % to .963 for the young season.
Overall, despite the advantages in shots, faceoffs won and less giveaways, the penalties seemed to be the problem as the Caps could not get anything going.
The Capitals (7-1-0, 14 pts) next game will be Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks (4-5-1, 9 pts) in the Rogers Arena at 10:00 pm ET on Comcast Sports Net. Tune in tomorrow to Bruce Boudreau on Lavar and Dukes at 4pm on 106.7 The Fan.