Oilers open road trip in U.S. Capital
EDMONTON OILERS (20-18-3) at
WASHINGTON CAPITALS (27-13-3)
Start Time: 5:08 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Capitals Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison
by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
Fresh off the final game of a five-game homestand—a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues—the Edmonton Oilers will take to the road tonight for an east coast meeting in building that has not been kind to them, nor any other team this season.
The Oilers (20-18-3) will start the second half of the 2008-09 season at Verizon Center in Washington where they haven’t won since 1997. The Capitals (27-13-3) have been nearly unstoppable at home posting an 18-2-1 record, though one of those losses came on Friday, the first of two straight losses coming into tonight’s game. Also, seven of Washington’s 13 losses have come at the hands of Western Conference teams.
Edmonton is still without leading scorer, Ales Hemsky
, who is recovering from a mild concussion.
This is the only game of the season between the Oilers and Capitals. Their last match-up, on Jan. 17, 2008, went to the shootout where Washington picked up the extra point.
Tonight’s game is the first of a three-game road trip that will see the Oilers play a back-to-back set versus divisional rivals Minnesota and Colorado on Thursday and Friday.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH:
Ryan Potulny got two assists in first game as an Oiler and will look to make the best of his call-up. The winger has scored 7-9-16 in 45 career NHL games...Sam Gagner
broke a three-game pointless stretch with a goal and an assist Sunday vs. St. Louis...Edmonton’s second-leading scorer, Sheldon Souray
, has gone two games without a point. That should change soon at the rate he’s putting up points. Souray has scored 5-10-15 in 27 games vs. the Caps.
CAPITALS TO WATCH:
Alex Ovechkin is a perennial MVP contender and is currently second in the league with 27 goals. He’s scored 12-2-16 in his last 14 games and has a goal and an assist in two games vs. Edmonton...D-man Mike Green needs one point for the 100th of his career. The Caps are 20-7-3 with Green in the lineup and 7-6 without him. He’s scored 10-18-28 in 30 games this season and has a goal in two games against the Oilers.
Edmonton—Robert Nilsson (concussion) is out; Zack Stortini
(strained knee) is out; Ales Hemsky
(mild concussion) is questionable; Fernando Pisani (ankle) is out. Washington—Tom Poti (groin) is day-to-day; John Erskine (concussion) is out; Brian Pothier (post-concussion syndrome) is out.
Oilers president of hockey operations, Kevin Lowe, and TV analyst, Louie DeBrusk, played in the last game that Edmonton won in Washington (Jan. 26, 1997) and tonight’s referee, Rob Schick, called the game...DeBrusk earned 27 minutes of penalties, including a game misconduct... Sergei Federov has played four games on defence this season for the Capitals...three of the eight active Hart Trophy winners in the NHL (Alex Ovechkin, Jose Theodore and Sergei Fedorov) play for the Capitals... Mathieu Garon is one game shy of his 200th NHL game.
Deslauriers recalled from Springfield
- General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have recalled goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers from the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. ...more
The Other Side - news from washingtoncapitals.com
- Caps aim to regain winning ways - Only three home games remain for the Washington Capitals this month, and the first of that trio is Tuesday night when the Edmonton Oilers come through town. The Caps had a nine-game home ice winning streak snapped ... ...more
- 01-12-09 Coach's Daily Dialogue - aps head coach Bruce Boudreau and forward Alex Ovechkin speak with the media after Monday's morning practice about rebounding from two straight losses and looking ahead at this weeks' games. ...more
Odds and Ends
- MacTavish on Hemsky, goalies and more - On Monday, Oilers head coach MacTavish addressed the media for eight minutes once the team's plane got up in the air. Ales Hemsky is on the trip and the coach talked about the possibility he could see a game among other topics. ...more
- Nine days of #9: Game Seven Magic - Oilers great Glenn Anderson will have his jersey retired this Sunday, January 18. Every day until then, we are rolling out video and features on number nine. Follow the link for more, including Anderson's take on the '87 series with Philadelphia. ...more
- 5 Questions with Sheldon Souray - We recently sat down with Sheldon Souray and asked him five hard-hitting questions, including divulging his first vehicle and favourite home-cooked meal. Click to check out his answers. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
Winning at home hasn't always seemed as easy as it has been this season for the Washington Capitals.
Matchups with the Edmonton Oilers have been an exception.
The Capitals, trying to bounce back from a rare loss at Verizon Center, look to win their seventh straight home game against the Oilers when the teams meet Tuesday night.
Southeast Division-leading Washington (27-13-3) has enjoyed outstanding success at Verizon Center, going 18-2-1. Only San Jose has a better home record at 19-0-2.
The Capitals' record at Verizon Center was .500 or worse in three straight seasons before going 23-15-3 in 2007-08, when they made the postseason for the first time in five years.
Washington, though, hasn't wavered at home against Edmonton (20-18-3) for more than a decade, winning six straight there in the series since a 3-1 loss on Jan. 26, 1997. That game is the Oilers' only victory in 12 visits to the nation's capital since 1990.
The Capitals beat Edmonton 5-4 in a shootout at Washington last Jan. 17 in the teams' only meeting of 2007-08. It was the fourth time in the Capitals' last five home games in this series they've scored four goals.
Washington could use another big game offensively as they try to rebound from their first home shutout of the season, 3-0 to Columbus on Friday night. It was Washington's first loss at Verizon Center in 10 games and ended its seven-game winning streak overall.
"It has to happen one day," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said of the home streak ending. "You get snakebitten. But good teams rebound from it and, hopefully, we're a good team."
The Capitals didn't rebound the next night in Montreal, losing 5-4, and now are in danger of dropping a season-high three straight for the third time.
The back-to-back defeats cost Boudreau an All-Star bid. Montreal's Guy Carbonneau got that final assistant's spot on Boston coach Claude Julien's Eastern Conference staff instead of Boudreau by virtue of a higher winning percentage - .683 to .662.
Alexander Semin was a bright spot for Washington on Saturday with two goals, finding the back of the net for the first time in seven games. The fourth-year winger, who recently missed time with a back injury, had scored 14 goals through his first 18 games of the season.
Edmonton, meanwhile, has scored two goals or fewer in three straight games, but beat St. Louis 2-1 on Sunday night for its only win in that span.
The Oilers responded after a players-only meeting to address team emotion following a 4-1 loss to San Jose on Friday night.
"It's always great to see the initial reaction after you have a talk like that," veteran defenseman Steve Staios said. "We showed a lot more emotion and played a much better skating game."
Sam Gagner had the winning goal and an assist. The 19-year-old center, the sixth pick in last year's draft, had gone six straight games without scoring.
"It's great for Sam," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "He's put a lot of pucks at the net and hasn't had a lot of luck."
Former University of Minnesota star Ryan Potulny added two assists in his first game for the Oilers.
Potulny was called up from Springfield of the AHL on Sunday to replace Zach Stortini, placed on injured reserve after suffering a lower-body injury Friday night in a fight with San Jose's Brad Staubitz. Potulny led Springfield with 17 goals and 31 points in 36 games.
Oilers scoring leader Ales Hemsky has missed seven straight games because of post-concussion symptoms and is listed as day-to-day.