Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Washington's Capital Punishment!

Who'd want to face the Washington Capitals on the heels of the Philadelphia Flyers?  A tired, frustrated and disheveled young Oilers club rolled into D.C. a got a taste of the Madness at Verizon; spearheaded by the Great 8 and his "run n' gun" cohorts.

Long story short, the Oilers were mauled 5-0; in a game which was very reminiscent from 24 hours ago.  Much like last night, the Oilers were out-classed, out-played and at times out-numbered by the speed of the tenacious Capitals.  The play-off bound club converted 2 goals on the power-play and never took the foot off of the gas.

While the first period saw no goals the Oilers went to the dressing room unscathed. 

And then the wheels fell off.

In the second period, Andrew Cogliano had a chance to put the Oilers on the board with short-handed goal, yet failed on his break-away attempt. One minute later, and on the same power-play, Washington capitalized on the opportunity, when newly acquired Jason Arnott found Ovechkin all alone on the side of the net.  The Great 8 potted the gimmie past Khabibulin to kickstart his three point night.  Arnott's helper became his 900th career point.

Minutes later, Khabibulin's mental lapse gave his club a delay-of-game penalty, after he was caught
playing the puck in the trapezoid.  On the power-play, an errant shot inadvertently ricocheted off of Tom Gilbert's skate which found stick of Eric Fehr. 

2-0 Caps at that point.

In the third.  Ovechkin easily stripped the puck off of Curtis Foster and thus completed the high-light of the night.  With the puck on his blade, Ovechkin went in on a 2-on-O with Marcus Johansson.  The pair toyed with Khabibulin making four passes between them before Ovechkin found the top right shelf.  It is certain that the goal will be featured in high-light reels on TSN and Sportsnet.  Perhaps it's on You-tube right now with 5000 views.

"When you see the 2-on-0, you think maybe you've given up too many," Edmonton coach Tom Renney said. "We did not manage the game well because we didn't manage the puck well."

Khabibulin's nightmare continued when he lost a foot race with Jason Chimera.  After winning the loose puck, Chimera slid it over to Fehr for the open cage.

The bleeding finally stopped for the Oilers after the 5th goal, after Semin and Sturm exchanged passes on the 2 on 1 goal.

Game Over.

Tom Renney, felt for Khabibulin throughout the night, and also felt that his club could've given the 38-year old vet some support.

"It was one of those nights where he was alone back there a number of times," said Renney, "This is one of those games you don't like talking about in March," he said. "I can see maybe the first half of year, but this is March now. I don't care who we're playing and how they're touted, the thing is we have to play our game and tonight we deviated in a big way from that. And that's disappointing."

At the other end goaltender Braden Holtby celebrated his first NHL shut-out, by making stopping 22 shots. 

"It feels good," the 21-year-old goalie said. "It almost feels better to get the win after an emotional game in Tampa, just to come back and make sure the team played well."
Alex Ovechkin also celebrated a milestone in his career by earning his 601st NHL point.  

The Oilers will now head to the Motor City for a tilt against Detroit this Friday. 

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