Oilers' long trip finally at an end
|Edmonton Oilers' Sam Gagner is sandwiched by New Jersey Devils' Jay Pandolfo, left, and John Madden during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday night, Nov. 9, 2008, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)|
At 7 p.m. the Edmonton Oilers conclude their 7-game road trip against the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning look for their second-consecutive win, against the Washington Capitals (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, RDS, TSN2), who are going for their third win in as many tries.
Here's what to keep an eye out for:
* "Olie the Goalie" returns to Washington in what is sure to be an emotional homecoming for the 38-year-old veteran. Olaf Kolzig, who had played his entire career in Washington where he holds team goaltending records for games played (711), wins (301), save percentage (.906) and shutouts (35), signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning over the summer.
* The Oilers, who have played 11 road games, more than any team in the League, have scored 36 goals, the second-fewest goals in the Northwest Division. Edmonton, which has only played 3 games at Rexall Place, has 15 points and is fourth in the division, but is just 3 points behind the division-leading Canucks.
* Edmonton right wing Ales Hemsky, who leads the team with 15 points, has scored all 5 of his goals this season in his last 4 games. Hemsky, who scored the game-winning goal Sunday against the New Jersey Devils, leads the Northwest Division with 7 power-play assists.
* Oilers center Shawn Horcoff, who has 4 assists and 5 points in 5 career games against the Rangers, has taken 300 faceoffs, the second-most in the Western Conference and third-most in the League. Horcoff, who has seen his assist total decrease the past 2 seasons after recording 51 in the 2005-06 season, has just 2 assists in 14 games this season.
* The Rangers, who have played the Oilers just twice in the last 3 seasons, have not lost to Edmonton at Madison Square Garden since March 19, 1996, when the Oilers beat the Rangers 4-1.The last time the two teams faced off in New York was Jan. 12, 2006, when the Rangers emerged with a 5-4 victory.
* Rangers defenseman Daniel Girardi is tied for the Atlantic Division lead among defensemen with 11 points. Girardi, whose defensive partner is Wade Redden, has played at least 20 minutes in 3 of his past 5 games.
* The Rangers, who have 4 players tied for the team lead with 9 assists, have lost 3 of their last 4 games. The Rangers, who are tied with the most goals in the Atlantic Division with 45, have yielded 5 shorthanded goals, tied for the most in the League.
* Lightning defensemen Andrej Meszaros, who was acquired during the summer for defensemen Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard, and a first-round draft pick, has 4 points in 13 games this season. Meszaros, who averages the most ice time among Tampa Bay players with an average of 24:47 per game, leads the team with a plus-5 rating on the road.
* Tampa Bay defenseman Marek Malik, who signed as a free agent with the Lightning in October, has a career plus-139 rating. Malik, who has 12 penalty minutes in 7 games, played 20 minutes for the first time this season Saturday against the Flyers.
* Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier, who plays with Martin St. Louis and Vaclav Prospal, has 24 goals, 51 points and a minus-4 rating in 52 games against the Capitals. Lecavalier, who has scored at least 40 goals in his last 2 seasons, has just 1 goal in his last 5 games.
* The Capitals, who have not lost at home in regulation, have played just 2 divisional games. Washington, which is just 2 points behind the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes with 2 games in hand, has scored 39 goals, but allowed 39 goals.
* Washington defenseman Jeff Schultz, who leads the team with 20 blocked shots, has 2 assists in his last 2 games. Schultz has never had more than 18 points in a season, but is on pace for a 32-assist season.
* Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin, who won the Hart and Art Ross trophies last season, has just 2 assists and no goals in 6 road games this season. Ovechkin, who leads the team with 37 hits, has been held pointless in 3 of his last 5 games.
Author: Adam Schwartz | NHL.com Staff Writer