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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Washington Capitals

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Oilers can close out homestand at 2-1-1 with a win tonight. Just got to get through the 2018 Cup Champs first.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Washington Capitals Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (3-3-1) (6th, Pacific)

Washington Capitals (4-2-2) (3rd, Metro)

7 PM MST

Rogers Place

TV: Sportsnet One, Sportsnet East, (Sportsnet Oilers)

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Japers’ Rink

FIVE ALIVE?

Oilers kept it interesting against Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, but they were ultimately defeated by a 6-5 margin in OT. Sidney Crosby scored the game winner when Ryan Strome just couldn’t keep his eye on the puck one-on-one. Though the Oilers would ultimately concede to the Penguins, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The Oilers were able to put up five goals on the board, and they got a Bettman point for getting the game to OT. While I wouldn’t go making it a habit of collecting points in overtime losses, they sting a lot less when your opponent is from the Eastern Conference.

The Oilers will host the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions when the puck drops tonight. Can the Oilers keep scoring goals like they did against Pittsburgh?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

“When you’re off the ice for four or five days, you kind of lose your wind a little bit. For me, it’s going to take a few days to get my wind back and those puck touches back.

Source

That’s Matt Benning on being out of the lineup after suffering a concussion. Benning took a hit from David Backes of the Bruins one week ago today. He will miss tonight’s game and is questionable for the weekend.

Prior to his injury, Benning had been switched to left defence and played with Evan Bouchard. In his absence, the Oilers have gone with a mixture of Jason Garrison and Kevin Gravel.

The Capitals are saying

“It’s a nice milestone, of course, but we’re not going to stop here. We’re just going to keep going.”

Source

That’s Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom after scoring his 599th, 600th and 601st career assist against the Capitals on Monday night.

Backstrom becomes just the 87th player in NHL history to hit 600 assists. His 600th? An assist to some dude named Alex Ovechkin.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • Oh, there’s some screaming about Jesse Puljujarvi’s ice time. Surely, there’s probably a measured compromise that we can all reach about the development of a prospect four months older than Kailer Yamamoto. You can probably argue that he might not be ready for 20 minutes a night and I wouldn’t think you’re off the mark. If you’re going to tell me that he’s a nine minute guy like he was on Tuesday against Pittsburgh, we’re probably not going to agree on too much either. The right wing position has been cratered since dealing Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome (0 points in seven games so far). Ty Rattie is far from a sure thing to be on the top line with 93 and 97, plus he’s injured for at least a week longer. You’ve got Yamamoto, Puljujarvi, Kassian and some weird voodoo mix of Alex Chiasson and Cooper Marody to fill out the right wing.
  • Speaking of, Alex Chiasson will play his former team for the first time tonight. Chiasson was a member of the 2018 Cup team, a club that saw him play 61 games and score 18 points (9-9-18). Chiasson burst onto everyone’s radar on Tuesday when he scored a pair of goals in Edmonton’s 6-5 OT loss to the Penguins.
  • Right now? The power play is good! It’s fifth overall in the league at 30.4. Connor McDavid (surprise) and Leon Draisaitl each had a power play tally on Tuesday. Oilers were 2/5 on the advantage.
  • NET GAINS: Cam Talbot’s been the backstop for all seven of Edmonton’s games so far this year, and it’s a fair bet he’ll start number eight tonight (3-3-1, .891 SV% / 3.15 GAA). I’d expect Braden Holtby (4-1-1, .895 SV% / 3.45 GAA) to get the nod for Washington tonight.
  • Oilers can wrap up their four game roadie with 5 points out of a possible 8 with a win tonight. It would be a pretty big feather in their cap before heading out to Nashville to avenge a 3-0 loss against the Predators.
  • Lines will be updated after morning skate today. If I’m guessing? Alex Chiasson gets a bump after his two goal performance on Tuesday, which may cause a disruption for Cooper Marody on the third line If I’m also guessing, the only logical move on D could be Jason Garrison getting back into the lineup for Kevin Gravel, though I’m not sure the Oilers want to do that. Check back, we’ll update as it becomes available.