The Washington Capitals' first loss of the season -- a 2-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers Thursday -- can be blamed on two things. First, Nikolai Khabibulin continued his hot streak by making 34 saves (19 of which came in the third period). Second (and most importantly), the Caps committed way too many penalties Thursday -- nine to be exact and all but one led to an Oilers power play.
Edmonton finished 2-for-8 with the man advantage as Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle took, well, advantage of the Caps' lack of discipline. The Caps were shorthanded for 11:21 in 5-on-4, 5-on-3 and 4-on-3 situations. It was the most power plays allowed by the Caps since November 20, 2010, against the Philadelphia Flyers (nine).
The referees made up for the disparity in penalties when they gave Edmonton three in the third. None was more important than the last one; Andy Sutton committed a roughing penalty with 1:06 left as Tomas Vokoun was pulled, giving the Caps a 6-on-4. Yet, Washington failed to muster any chances as a delayed offside call forced it to retreat, giving Edmonton time to clear the puck. The Caps, who entered the game with one of the league's top power plays, finished 0-for-4.
The absence of Mike Green definitely played a role, but the Caps' undisciplined play led to their demise and first loss of the season.