(SportsNetwork.com) – After halting a season-opening five-game skid the last
time out, the Edmonton Oilers will try to add another victory when they host
the Washington Capitals in Wednesday’s encounter at Rexall Place.
Edmonton opened the season with an 0-4-1 mark and had dropped three straight
in regulation before posting a 3-2 win Monday against the visiting Tampa Bay
Lightning. The win over the Bolts kept the Oilers from setting a new club
record for worst ever start to a season. Edmonton had tied the dubious team
mark with its five-game winless streak to begin 2014-15.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the game-winning goal with 3:25 to play in the
third period on Monday, but earlier in the tilt Taylor Hall had sparked his
club with a penalty-shot goal.
Hall, who also posted an assist in the win, received a penalty shot
opportunity at 14:57 of the second period with the score tied at 1-1. Hall was
pulled down from behind by Matt Carle on a breakaway and he converted the
ensuing penalty shot by slipping a backhand between Ben Bishop’s pads.
“I haven’t been too good on breakaways or penalty shots or shootouts in my
career,” said Hall. “I would have looked pretty silly if it didn’t go in, but
luckily it did.”
Brett Connolly tied the game for Tampa at 6:05 of the third period, but
Nugent-Hopkins would tally the decisive goal less than three minutes later.
Jordan Eberle picked off a cross-ice pass in the Tampa end and passed it over
to the slot where Nugent-Hopkins was able to snap it under the glove of Bishop
for a 3-2 lead.
Justin Schultz also scored for the Oilers and Ben Scrivens posted 22 stops in
Edmonton’s Richard Bachman could see his first action between the pipes
tonight. He has 35 career NHL games under his belt, but has never faced the
While the Oilers shoot for their second win of the campaign, Washington is
aiming to pick up its third consecutive victory. The Capitals have yet to lose
in regulation this season, posting a 3-0-2 record in five tilts under new head
coach Barry Trotz.
The Caps went 2-0-1 on a recent three-game homestand, ending the stay at
Verizon Center with wins over New Jersey and Florida.
Alex Ovechkin went without a goal for the first time in four games in
Saturday’s meeting with the Panthers, but he scored in the shootout to help
Washington pick up a 2-1 decision. In fact, all three Capitals skaters beat Al
Montoya in the shootout — Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom with snap
shots to the stick side and Ovechkin with a nice shoulder fake that sent the
Panthers goalie to the ice.
Ovechkin had scored five goals in the previous three games after being shut
out by Montreal in the season opener on Oct. 9. He had a chance to end it in
overtime but his slap shot from the left circle was stopped by Montoya.
Caps netminder Justin Peters had 20 saves in regulation and overtime, while
Jason Chimera scored in regulation for the Capitals.
“You have to scratch out whatever game’s presented,” said Trotz. “Tonight was
a game (against a team) that’s scrappy with a good group of forwards that play
a fast game, a hard game and we couldn’t get a second goal to pull away.”
Ovechkin has piled up the points in eight career games against the Oilers,
registering seven goals and five assists in those tilts. Meanwhile, Braden
Holtby, who expects to start in net tonight for the Caps, is 3-0 with a 1.00
GAA in three lifetime meetings versus Edmonton.
The Caps won both encounters with the Oilers in 2013-14, scoring four goals in
each tilt to outscore Edmonton 8-3 in the season series. Washington has
claimed four of the last five meetings overall and has taken two of the past
three at Rexall Place.
The home team, however, has won three of four and 16 of the previous 19
meetings in this series and the Caps have eight losses over their last 10
trips to Edmonton.
Washington forward Jay Beagle could see his first action of the season tonight
after getting injured during the preseason. Beagle expects to take Brooks
Laich’s spot in the lineup tonight after Laich sustained a shoulder injury in
Saturday’s win over the Panthers.