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Don't blame Holtby, a weakness exposed and Oilers show Ovechkin mad respect

Don't blame Holtby, a weakness exposed and Oilers show Ovechkin mad respect

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.

Edmonton got 40 shots on goal and 14 in the third period alone.

Pinchers beware

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.

Turning point

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.


Stat of the night

Legends.


Quote of the night

Everbody’s an Alex Ovechkin fan.


Fan predictions

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.

Damn!

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 don’t mind these. The worst look in the league is Anaheim. Bronze, black and orange? Hideous.

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Alex Ovechkin and his son Sergei team up for a Capitals simulation game

Alex Ovechkin and his son Sergei team up for a Capitals simulation game

The only thing better than watching Alex Ovechkin actually play hockey is watching him virtually play with his son Sergei.

During the NHL's hiatus, Ovechkin is keeping the family fun going, as this video from his wife's Instagram account shows him playing NHL 20 with his son Seregi on his lap. 

Ovi and Ovi Jr. are both dialed into the TV screen, which shows the Caps simulation game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

In fact, even as the camera pans to their faces, they both only take a quick glance before returning their focus to the action on the ice. 

With this duo manning the controls, the Caps no doubt secured a virtual win. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Alex Ovechkin's son, Sergei, is doing film study with him during NHL hiatus

Alex Ovechkin's son, Sergei, is doing film study with him during NHL hiatus

Alex Ovechkin's son Sergei continues to be the star on Instagram that we all need during these tough times. This video from his mom's account confirms that all fans big and small are spending their time at home doing the same thing: rewatching the Caps. 

Though not all of us get to rewatch great moments with the greats.

The adorable video features a very focused Sergei studying his dad doing his thing and scoring an exciting goal. 

Ovi Jr. even appears to celebrate along with the announcer and the crowd heard in the video as he shakes his hands and moves the screen around. 

The clip ends with Sergei scrolling through the camera, probably to search for more exciting Ovi videos. 

We feel you, Sergei, and will gladly join you in watching old Ovi highlights.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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