NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, October 24th (All times Eastern)
Washington Capitals (4-5-0) at Edmonton Oilers (3-6-1), 9:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals hope to get to the .500 mark with a third straight victory on Thursday night as they continue the western portion of their road trip with a clash against the Edmonton Oilers.
The Capitals have won three of four since opening the season 1-4-0 and began their swing with Tuesday's 5-4 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets. They are also scheduled to visit Calgary and Vancouver before wrapping the road trip back east against Philadelphia on Nov. 1.
There were a lot of pucks flying in Tuesday's win as the Caps were outshot 47-32 and failed to hold three different one-goal leads. However, Braden Holtby matched a career high with 43 saves while facing a personal-high 47 shots and stopped three of six skaters in the shootout.
Washington scored on its final four shootout attempts, with Martin Erat's goal following Holtby's stop of Evander Kane.
"I felt bad for (Holtby). He had to make some massive saves," said Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner. "That game probably should have been 7-4, 8-4 for them. There were a couple of things that we do not like to see and we're not happy with, but we are happy that we battled enough to get a win."
Alex Ovechkin scored twice in regulation, giving him a league-high nine goals on the season, while Mikhail Grabovski and Troy Brouwer also scored.
"It was not our game at all," said Ovechkin, who was stopped in the shootout. "I think we made too many mistakes. But we got lucky in the shootout. ... We didn't play how we have to play at all."
The Oilers play host to the Capitals following a six-game road trip. They lost the first four games of the trek, and five straight overall, before back-to- back wins over Ottawa and Montreal.
Jeff Petry, Ryan Jones, Ales Hemsky and Ladislav Smid all scored in the 4-3 win over Montreal, while Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves to help Edmonton win two in a row for the first time this season.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and rookie Mark Arcobello all finished with two assists, with Arcobello notching his ninth and 10th helpers of the campaign.
"After the first period, we realized we had to pick up our game," Nugent- Hopkins said. "We responded really well and came out on top."
Edmonton responded in its first game since losing forward Taylor Hall for at least the next four weeks with a left knee injury suffered in Saturday's win over the Senators. He was tied for the club lead with eight points at the time of his injury.
The Oilers hope to continue a recent trend in this series as the home team has won three straight and 16 of the previous 18 meetings. That was the case in Washington on Oct. 14, when the Caps notched a 4-2 victory for their third win in the last four meetings with Edmonton.
Washington has lost eight of its past nine in Edmonton.
Holtby made 28 saves in the earlier win over the Oilers and has won both of his games against them, stopping 50-of-52 shots faced with a shutout.
Dubnyk has come up on the losing end in both of his career starts versus the Capitals, charged with eight goals on 54 shots faced. He did not play in Washington on Oct. 14, with backup Jason LaBarbera giving up four goals on 20 shots.
10/24 10:50:08 ET