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Game 8 Preview: Oilers vs. Capitals

After dreadful start to season, Oilers have chance to reach .500 if they can topple powerful Caps

Iiro Pakarinen has been recalled for today's game against the Capitals
Iiro Pakarinen has been recalled for today's game against the Capitals
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

caps 2


oilers logo black text
5-1-0, 10 points, 1.667 p/g Ranks 3-4-0, 6 points, .857 p/g
Eastern Conference - 3rd Western Conference - 11th
4th P/G 21st
8th ST 9th
18th S/G 6th
11th Goal 12th
7:00 PM MDT
TV - Sportsnet One
Radio - 630 CHED
Rexall Place
The opposing view:  Japers' Rink

Make It Four!

Regulation wins?  The Oilers did something they hadn't done in nearly forever on Wednesday night.  The Detroit Red Wings have typically held Edmonton in a stranglehold, but a power play goal from Mark Letestu and a scintillating goal from rookie phenom Connor McDavid helped propel the Oilers to their first regulation win over Detroit  in about eight hundred years.  The Oilers still have some noteworthy defensive breakdowns, and until the defense gets fixed they'll still yield some bad looking odd-man rushes, but man, winning feels good.

Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"If we spend 12 minutes in the penalty box tomorrow, we're going to diminish our chances of winning by a lot, probably too much."


That's Oilers coach Todd McLellan on facing a powerful Capitals team

Oilers are a tidy 23/25 on the PK this year putting them tops in the league.  That's a nice feather in your cap, but I wouldn't throw it out too hard against the Capitals tonight.  Caps have a 27.8 PP conversion rate, and...that's a lot.

The opponents are saying

"It was really the Beagle line, they were the ones that put the work boots on and just went to work, and they srot of pulled the rest of the group into the fight"   Source
That's Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Jay Beagle and his friends.  Beagle's line scored two goals against Vancouver yesterday, and some guy named Alex Ovechkin scored the game winner.

Washington's a dangerous club.  Yes, they've got Ovechkin, but when you're getting point production from lines other than the ones with superstars, that's a definite plus.  The Caps are third overall in the Eastern Conference behind only the Rangers and the undefeated Montréal Canadiens.

Have some of this
  • The Oilers have to take advantage of a Capitals club who played last night in Vancouver.  The Oilers haven't played since Wednesday, and have got to exploit Washington's fatigue early.
  • The Andrew Miller Experience lasted just one game.  Iiro Pakarinen was recalled yesterday and Miller was sent back to Bakersfield.  Rob Klinkhammer was skating on the top line in practice yesterday, but Pakarinen is the likely guy to go with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
  • Anders Nilsson (1-1, .953 SV% / 1.98 GAA) .will get the start for the Oilers, while Philip Grubauer (0-0, N/A) will get his first start of the season for the Capitals.
  • Connor McDavid and Nail Yakupov are still awesome together.  McDavid is starting to not need any introduction around here (check out his showstopper if you haven't yet seen it), and Nail Yakupov had two helpers in Edmonton's 3-1 win against Detroit on Wednesday.  This is a good thing here with McDavid and Yakupov, and for the safety of the world, it must continue.
  • Alex Ovechkin is still pretty damn good, he's got seven points (5-2-7) in five games for the Capitals so far this year.  So does defenceman John Carlson (2-5-7) in six games.  The Oilers are going to have to keep out of the box.
  • Matt Hendricks (foot) Jordan Eberle (shoulder), and Griffin Reinhart (undisclosed, day-to-day) will be unavailable for Edmonton.