Washington Capitals beat Edmonton Oilers for 13th straight home win

By Benjamin Standig, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 25, 2017 at 6:53 AM
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WASHINGTON -- Justin Williams found some quiet ice and then scored the loudest goal. Just what the Washington Capitals needed to keep rolling at home.

Williams and Tom Wilson scored as the Washington Capitals defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Friday night for their 13th consecutive home victory.

Goaltender Braden Holtby had 30 saves for the Capitals (41-12-7), who have won two in a row overall.

Leon Draisaitl scored Edmonton's goal. The Oilers (33-21-8) had won four of the previous five games.

Connor McDavid had an assist in the series finale, but only one shot on goal against Washington's defense.

"I thought it was outstanding," said Holtby, who improved to 16-0-2 in his last 20 games. "We give that team a lot of credit. We knew what they were capable of coming in, and we knew there was a lot of areas that we were going to have to be really good or they were going to expose us. We shut down their big players."

Capitals center Evengy Kuznetsov drew the primary task of guarding the NHL's points leader.

"I think Kuzy was obviously phenomenal on the defensive side," Holtby continued.

Williams scored the go-ahead goal 5:48 into the third period from the right wing off a feed from Jay Beagle, who dug out the puck along the boards behind Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot.

"He found some quiet ice up quite high," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said of Williams. "I think he surprised everybody. ... He's a crafty veteran, he positioned himself well and he shot it right away."

McDavid made his Washington debut after missing last season's visit with an injury. The 20-year-old phenom had two assists in the Oilers' 4-1 victory over the Caps in Edmonton on Oct. 26.

Washington has a point in 15 consecutive home games, but snapped its streak of 11 games in a row with at least five goals. The Capitals returned home after a 1-2 road trip that included Wednesday's 4-1 win at the Philadelphia Flyers.

Wilson scored the game's first goal. With traffic blocking Talbot's vision, Wilson blasted a shot into the left corner of the net with 7:38remaining in the first period for a 1-0 Edmonton lead.

With Edmonton legend and NHL career points leader Wayne Gretzky in attendance, the Oilers tied the score 35 seconds into the second period. Draisaitl's slap shot beat Holtby to the inside post for his 23rd goal after a bouncing puck off two Washington players remained deep in the Capitals end.

"That was a very good team that we played against that we shut down offensively, except for a bad break on their goal," Williams said.

Talbot had 24 saves in the loss.

Considering what they were facing on the road, Edmonton focused on positives after the loss.

"That was a good test for us," center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. "I don't think we can be upset about it. We've got to move on."

"I think that's a far assessment on their behalf," McLellan said when told of the postgame tone. "We knew coming in it was going to be a tough task. I thought we played with them most of the night. ... It was a pretty close game, back and forth. hard fought.

"Both teams back-ends played well. Goaltenders were good. One of those nights we were just a little bit short."

NOTES:

-- Washington played without D Matt Niskanen (lower body), D Brooks Orpik (lower body) and F TJ Oshie (upper body). RW Riley Barber made his Capitals debut after being recalled Hershey on Thursday.

-- Edmonton activated D Darnell Nurse (ankle) from injured reserve, but he was not on the game roster.

-- Both teams play their next game at Nashville, starting with the Capitals on Saturday. The Oilers face the Predators on Sunday.

-- The Oilers are 0-2 against the Predators this season, including a 2-0 road loss on Feb. 2.

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