Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/14/13
Stay the course. Pay no attention to the results on the scoreboard. That was Coach Adam Oates’s message through five games as the Washington Capitals struggled to create offense and clean up their play. Monday night the Capitals proved his patience was well founded. Washington overcame a slow start and one-goal deficit in the first period to dominate the Edmonton Oilers in a 4-2 win at Verizon Center that snapped its three-game losing streak. The Capitals recorded their first regulation win of the season and equaled their goal total from the previous three games thanks to a balanced showing of two power-play and two even-strength goals all by different scorers. Goaltender Braden Holtby put on a strong performance as well finishing with 28 saves in his first victory in five starts. “We feel confidence here. Of course we was kind of upset about the beginning of the year we start the games and we win only one game” said Alex Ovechkin who recorded his sixth goal and third assist of the season. “It’s good group of guys here and we just have to stay confident and play our way. The guys who didn’t score beginning of the year scored big goals for us and you can see the spark.” It took time for Washington to assert itself against the speedy young Oilers though as it continued its troubling trend of lacking poise in the opening minutes of a game. The Capitals didn’t muster a shot on Edmonton goaltender Jason LaBarbera (16 saves) until 6 minutes 14 seconds had passed. More concerning than the shot differential was that every Capitals line with the exception of the fourth spent the majority of their shifts trapped in the defensive zone. The Oilers took advantage of the lopsided play and took a 1-0 lead on a wrist shot by former Capital Boyd Gordon that beat Holtby low to his blocker side with 9:48 gone in the first. Still looking for anything to build from the Capitals got the break they needed four minutes later. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who was pressured by Mikhail Grabovski made a careless clearing attempt that Steve Oleksy picked off at the blue line and sent on to Brooks Laich between the hash marks. The Capitals utility forward turned to snap a shot that slipped between LaBarbera’s feet to even the score at 1 with his first goal of the season. The goal ignited the Capitals. Their checks were heavier their passes went tape to tape they spent quality time in the offensive zone and were able to enter the intermission tied despite the uneven start. In the second period Holtby bolstered the Capitals’ confidence when he dove to make a stunning save on David Perron after a rebound had popped out to his left. Holtby’s sparkling stop kept the game tied and gave his teammates an opportunity to build a lead of their own. “I just tried to get over there as quick as I could” Holtby said. “It’s the type of save I hadn’t been making in the last few games to try and keep the game at 1-1 at that point. That’s my job. That’s my job to make those saves.”
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