Braden Holtby stood on his head in Edmonton on Thursday, but the Capitals were dealt a 4-3 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Some people had an opinion on that, but those people are wrong.
Here is everything you need to know from Thursday's loss.
Observations from the loss
Holtby was brilliant, stop blaming him
The Caps had two-goal lead in the third period and again, they coughed it up. If you think this loss was on Holtby, I don’t know what to tell you and it doesn’t matter because clearly you’ve made up your mind.
Holtby was brilliant in this game. Brilliant. He is the reason the Caps escaped with a point and not at all why they lost. If your takeaway from Thursday was that Holtby gave up another two-goal lead, then you either did not watch this game or you have already made up your mind about Holtby and you are just seeing what you want to see. If you took off your mental blinders and watched the game, you would have been impressed.
Look at the pressure Edmonton got right in front of Holtby.
What is a goalie supposed to do against this? pic.twitter.com/bdZhottBse— JJ Regan (@JJReganNBCS) October 25, 2019
Edmonton got 40 shots on goal and 14 in the third period alone.
The defense is pinching more in the offensive zone this year by design. Obviously defensemen going deep into the offensive zone does not come without risk, but we saw the real weakness to this mentality on Thursday: speed.
Fast teams can take advantage when the Caps pinch by getting the puck behind the defense and launching the counter. Few teams are as dangerous at this as the Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl led Oilers.
When a defenseman pinches, a forward is supposed to switch back to the blue line to cover for him. Fast teams can launch a breakout while the Caps are switching to take advantage or they can attack right at that forward who is not used to defending odd-man breaks.
That’s something the Caps need to be aware of when they face faster teams this year.
Stop playing passive in the third period
When the Caps entered the final period with a lead, the goal should not be to survive the next 20 minutes and escape with the win, the goal should be to continue pushing and dictate the game.
Washington is a much better team on the offensive end of the ice than back on defense. The best way to protect a two-goal lead is to maintain possession and make it a three-goal lead. Allowing 14 shots on goal in the third is way too much and the Caps were put completely on their heels.
West coast games should not be allowed to go to overtime
C’mon guys. You’re killing me.
Heading into the third, the Caps had a 3-1 lead and looked like they would cruise to the win. They played like it too and that’s what cost them.
After taking it to the Oilers in the second period, the Oilers flipped the script in the third and let loose a barrage against Holtby and took control of the game. Momentum shifted less than five minutes into the final frame as Draisaitl scored to make it 3-2. From then on, Washington was just trying to hang on.
Play of the night
After Washington went up 3-1, Draisaitl hopped on a neutral zone turnover to launch the odd-man break. He came in on the right and passed left to McDavid. McDavid should have shot, but elected to pass it back right to the trailing Zack Kassian. Holtby was square on Draisaitl, slid right, then recovered left and stretched his pad just enough to deny Kassian for the brilliant, jaw-dropping save.
And that's why we call him the Holtbeast. pic.twitter.com/YwmcTVozuY— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) October 25, 2019
Stat of the night
Quote of the night
Everbody’s an Alex Ovechkin fan.
“Honestly, I wish he didn’t score. But it was pretty cool to see — he just rips it top cheese. Nobody’s really that upset. It’s Ovechkin, right?" — Ethan Bear on playing vs. Ovechkin for the first time.— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) October 25, 2019
First, my prediction. I didn’t get to ask for any predictions until about five minutes into the game so allow me to predict that no one will be a smart ass about it.
No one scores through first 8 minutes. #nailedit— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) October 25, 2019
Carlson convinces Canada at large he's legit #doitforbaldy— Heather (@Lovelyoutlaw) October 25, 2019
If you don’t think Carlson is legit by now, then you never will.
I wish. It seems like the only people who were awake were the Holtby detractors.
I predict the NHL will fine the Oilers for wearing those God awful sweaters— Carter Turner (@ECarterTurner) October 25, 2019
I don’t mind these. The worst look in the league is Anaheim. Bronze, black and orange? Hideous.
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