Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 1-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers Monday night at Verizon Center:
How it happened: Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov needed no deception to score his second goal in as many games, rifling a slap shot past Oilers netminder Anders Nilsson and under the crossbar with 6:32 remaining in the third period to give the Caps the win. Unlike their first meeting, when the two teams combined for 11 goals in a 7-4 Caps win in Edmonton, the Oilers clogged up the neutral zone and beat the Capitals to loose pucks in a scoreless first two periods. The Oilers outshot the Caps 23-15 in the first 40 minutes and 33-30 overall.
Holt-beast: Caps goaltender Braden Holtby was perfect en route to his first shutout of the season and 21st of his career. Before the game, Holtby received a scare when teammate Justin Williams toppled onto him in the middle of a split stretch during warmups. Holtby made four big stops on a second-period penalty kill, then flashed his glove to stone Eric Gryba on a 2-on-1 with 11:46 remaining.
RELATED Justin Williams flattens Braden Holtby during warm-ups
What it means: The Caps improved to 14-5-1 and 29 points, but the Rangers were leading the Predators 3-0 and appeared to be on their way to preserving their five-point lead on the second-place Caps in the Metro Division.
Killer red: The Capitals’ penalty kill entered the game ranked seventh in the NHL and it was stellar against the Oilers, especially in the second period when a 4-minute high-sticking penalty on Nicklas Backstrom put the Caps shorthanded for 3:43. Holtby stopped four shots, including big saves on Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall. Tom Wilson also made a big block and a nice clear. The Caps have now killed off nine of their last 10 shorthanded situations over the past five games.
Power outage: The Caps went 0-for-3 on the power play, leaving Alex Ovechkin stuck on just one power play goal this season.
Oiler history: Edmonton native Jason Chimera was drafted by the Oilers in the fifth round (121st overall) in 1997. He played in parts of four seasons with the Oilers but did not play alongside Todd Reirden, who played for Edmonton in the 1998-99 season.
What’s ahead: The Caps have scheduled an 11:30 a.m. practice for Tuesday at Kettler. They’ll face the Winnipeg Jets for the first time this season on Wednesday night at Verizon Center.
CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.
The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.
The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.
Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.
Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.
“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”
The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.
February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.
Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.
Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.
Here are the three stars of the game.
1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.
Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.
2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.
Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.
3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.
Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.