Thanks to multi-goal performances from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dylan Strome, the Washington Capitals snapped their four-game losing streak with a 5-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday (Nov. 7). The home team made the most of their opportunities on the power play, scoring four of their five goals on the man advantage. Alex Ovechkin also found the back of the net, improving his record on the season to 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in 14 games.
With that said, here are our three takeaways from the Capitals’ win over the Oilers. It was a performance to remember for several members of the organization.
Evgeny Kuznetsov Breaks Scoring Drought
It was about time that Kuznetsov found twine. He started the night with seven assists and zero goals on the season, but quickly put things right with a dominant offensive performance. The 30-year-old broke his dry spell with a simple finish while the Capitals were on a five-on-three; it was the kind of moment he needed to end his run without a goal.
The 30-year-old’s second of the night also came on the power play and was the result of another impressive assist, this time from Ovechkin:
“I think we’ve done a good job in the last few games but the puck just hasn’t been going in, but as long as you stick with it they will go in eventually,” Kuznetsov told reporters at Capital One Arena.
“Definitely, tomorrow morning will be better than the last eight mornings. I felt like we [had] played well but not well enough for wins lately but this win will give us a big breath… and I’m hoping we can build after this game because we’re a pretty good team.”
Dylan Strome Finds His Feet Offensively
Strome produced a standout performance versus the Oilers, notching three points (two goals, one assist) in 15:54 time on ice. The 25-year-old’s best play of the night came at the end of the first period when he stripped Warren Foegele of the puck and fired a fierce shot into the net:
Storme also had a significant impact in the defensive zone and helped the Capitals minimize McDavid’s impact in the third period. Already, he is on track to becoming one of the most important players on Washington’s roster.
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“I think we just shut it down defensively,” Strome explained in the locker room, “I don’t think we gave them too many chances in the third period [aside from] a couple of bounces. But I thought, all in all, we did a pretty good job of limiting their chances and found a way to keep their lead – and then the power play scored again, which was nice.”
Peter Laviolette Records Career Win No. 723
It was also a memorable night for Peter Laviolette, who left Capital One Arena in sole possession of eighth place on the all-time leaderboard for most regular-season wins by a head coach in NHL history with 723.
“I’ll be honest, the win tonight after losing four in a row feels better,” Laviolette said in his postgame press conference. “It feels good. I’ve worked with some amazing people along the way. I’ve certainly worked with some amazing staff, coaches and players and just throughout my career I’ve been fortunate to do that. I think the thing I’ll remember the most about tonight is the win for the team.”
Laviolette is in his third season behind the bench in D.C., which is the latest stop in a 21-year career that also includes time with the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, and Nashville Predators. He overtook Alain Vigneault to vault into eighth on the all-time list:
- Scotty Bowman – 1,244
- Joel Quenneville – 969
- Barry Trotz – 914
- Ken Hitchcock – 849
- Lindy Ruff* – 791
- Al Arbour – 782
- Paul Maurice* – 782
- Peter Laviolette* – 723
- Alain Vigneault – 722
* active coaches
Looking Ahead for the Capitals
The Capitals sit sixth in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 6-6-2 after their win over the Oilers. They will return to Capital One Arena on Wednesday (Nov. 9) for a must-watch clash versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. Then, Laviolette’s squad will face the Tampa Bay Lightning twice in a row on Friday and Sunday (Nov. 11 and 13).
Luke is an award-winning freelance sports journalist from London, England. In addition to his work on the Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators for THW, he covers the Elite Ice Hockey League for British Ice Hockey and world soccer for numerous publications, including on Substack. To stay up to date with his content, follow @LukeJames_32 on Twitter.