When the schedule was released, this was one of the most anticipated games of the season. For the first time in two years, the dynamic Edmonton Oilers visited our nation’s capital.
Connor McDavid. Alex Ovechkin. Leon Draisaitl. Evgeny Kuznetsov.
The best overall player in hockey today against arguably the best pure goal scorer of all time. A young and exciting club hoping to put together all of the pieces squaring off against a grizzled group of veterans trying to make one last run at glory. What more could a hockey fan ask for?
The Caps welcomed the Oilers without the services of Ovechkin, and his team-leading 29 goals and 58 points through 46 games, after the 36-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in the day. The Russian Machine may never break, but it means he’ll also miss this weekend’s All-Star Game festivities.
Additionally, T.J. Oshie and Vitek Vanecek were unavailable for the marquee matchup, as both recover from upper body injuries.
Edmonton, who has struggled to find consistency all season long, showed no sympathy to their shorthanded hosts, scoring on three of their first four shots of the game — sending Ilya Samsonov to the showers before he even had a chance to break a sweat (after just five minutes and seven seconds of action).
Pheonix Copley, who was added to the Caps’ taxi squad earlier in the day, was thrust into action and had a strong showing — stopping 21 of 22 shots in relief duty. Lars Eller, Conor Sheary and Kuznetsov scored for Washington, who rallied to make a game of it. But ultimately, McDavid and friends prevailed, 5-3, earning their fifth win in six games while preventing the Capitals from recording a third-consecutive victory of their own.