No it isn’t a typo, the Edmonton Oilers are really 5-1-0 this season. The Oilers subtracted Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov out of the equation, and they’ve become a better team, so it seems thus far. Connor McDavid also had his first offseason in the NHL to get better and absorb everything. McDavid is only going to get better with experience for the Oilers. Hall and Yakupov were expected to be the future of the franchise, but the only thing that’s happened in Edmonton is the team improving since they left.
Let’s call it for what it is, Hall didn’t want to be an Oiler anymore, and Yakupov just isn’t the All-Star they were looking him to be. There were numerous times last season when Hall would just shrug his shoulders and roll his eyes after a call didn’t go his way. So, the way I saw it, it’s probably best that Hall packed his bag up and went to New Jersey, for both parties.
The Oilers needed to wash away the bad and focus on the good in Edmonton. Not to say Taylor Hall is necessarily a bad player, he just played whenever he wanted to and took games off when he pleased. McDavid does not strike me as a guy who is going to float around and take shifts off, and cutting the dead weight from the team seemed like an ideal scenario. It has paid off so far, because the Oilers have only lost a game to their five wins. It’s way early, I mean three losses in a row and they’re suddenly 5-4-0 but the Oilers have been playing good hockey to start the season.
They have two wins over the Flames, and another three over the Jets, Hurricanes, and Blues. The Sabres are the only team to best them yet this season, a 6-2 win for Buffalo. Edmonton will look to earn their most impressive win of the season tonight against the Capitals at home. The Caps come into tonight at 3-1-1, their last game resulting in a loss on the 22nd. There isn’t any excuse for the Capitals to come out tired because of the long flight, they’ve had more than enough time to rest up since the loss to the Rangers.
Auston Matthew’s hot start with the Maple Leafs has stolen some of the limelight from Connor McDavid in 2016. However, McDavid has been playing great hockey in his sophomore campaign with the Oilers. In six games played, McDavid has already notched 9 points, with 5 goals and 4 assists. Matthews has 10 points in six games. Compare them anyway you want, the fact of the matter is that Matthews and McDavid are two excellent players who are going to be compared for years to come. Alexander Ovechkin has been doing this for around the last decade in Washington. He’s scored at least 50 goals the last three years and is off to a solid start with 3 goals and an assist in 2016-17.
Braden Holtby is back in the crease for the Capitals and has posted a GAA of 1.98 thus far, with a save percentage of 0.924. The most goals he allowed in start was the Capitals last game against the Rangers, where they netted 3 goals on Holtby. As long as Holtby and Ovechkin are healthy, the Capitals should be a play or two away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final. The Caps blew through the competition last season, with a record of 56-18-8, but the Penguins got the better of them yet again in the playoffs.
Another quality regular season for the Capitals, and another lousy showing in the playoffs. I don’t expect a different result this season, why should I? With that said, they should compile a nice record during the regular season once again, and the odds of them beating the Oilers tonight seem better than -135. The Capitals win and the Oilers drop back to a respectable mark of 5-2 this season.
PICK: CAPITALS TO WIN -135