Preview: Capitals at Oilers
After a sizzling start to the season, the Edmonton Oilers have hit their first speed bump while the Washington Capitals have hit their stride following a brief rough patch of their own. The Oilers return home after absorbing back-to-back shutout losses on the road and on Thursday night will host the surging Capitals, who are riding a four-game winning streak.
Edmonton has gone seven periods without scoring, following up a 1-0 shootout loss at Winnipeg with a 3-0 setback in Minnesota to extend its goal drought to 152:38. "I think with the start we've had, teams are going to come out and play hard," forward Alex Chiasson said after Tuesday's loss to the Wild. "I think that's one thing this group has to learn how to handle." Offense has not been a problem for Washington, which has scored five goals in three straight contests entering the third stop of its five-game road trip. "We're a dangerous team when we're doing the right things," said red-hot defenseman John Carlson after scoring two more goals in Tuesday's 5-3 victory in Calgary.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBCS Washington, Sportsnet One (Edmonton)
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (7-2-2): Carlson is off to one of the best starts in history, matching a career-high eight-game point streak, leading the league in scoring and becoming the fourth defenseman in history to amass 20 points in the month of October. “It seems like anything he wants, it goes in -- passes, shots, plays -- and it is good for us,” captain Alex Ovechkin said of Carlson, the second-fastest blue-liner to reach 20 points, behind only Paul Coffey (10 games, 1988-89). Ovechkin also is riding an eight-game point streak, scoring six goals in that span.
ABOUT THE OILERS (7-2-1): Edmonton was too reliant on the 1-2 punch of captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who combined for 221 points last season while only one other player on the team had more than 41. McDavid led the league with 17 points in his first seven contests until he was held off the scoresheet over the past three games, marking only the second time in his career he has been blanked in three consecutive outings. While the Oilers are tied for the top power play with a success rate of 35.7 percent, they are 0-for-6 over the past three games.
1. Ovechkin has 11 goals and 21 points in 18 games versus Edmonton.
2. McDavid has three goals and eight points in seven games against Washington.
3. Carlson needs five points to tie Kevin Hatcher (426) for the third-most points by a defenseman in franchise history.
PREDICTION: Capitals 4, Oilers 3