June 19, 2024

Surging Oilers open homestand against Capitals

The Edmonton Oilers open a four-game homestand when they host the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

The Oilers, who hold a four-point edge over the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights for second place in the Pacific Division, are 6-1-1 in their past eight games after completing a 2-1-1 road trip with a 4-0 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday.

“Obviously we don’t love the two losses, but we’ve played a lot of hockey lately,” Edmonton captain Connor McDavid said. “That’s no excuse, obviously, but six games in nine games with travel coast to coast, it’s been a grind here. So, we’ll take the two points here. We’ll take five of eight (points) on the road trip. And we’ll take a little rest at home.”

After seeing his 14-game point streak end Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres, McDavid had a goal and two assists vs. the Penguins.

Darnell Nurse scored twice, and Mattias Ekholm had a goal and an assist for the Oilers. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm hadn’t scored since Dec. 6 – a stretch of 40 games. Calvin Pickard made 41 saves despite leaving the game briefly after a collision late in the second period.

The Oilers led 2-0 after two periods before Nurse scored twice in the third to clinch the win.

“I think just find a way to get to those spots and guys making good plays, so we’ve got to capitalize on those,” Nurse said. “It’s good, but like I said, it’s got to continue here. There are a lot of big hockey games coming up here over the stretch, and we’re getting ready for the end of this year.”

Leon Draisaitl scored twice, McDavid had four assists and the Oilers ended a three-game skid when they won 5-0 at Washington on Nov. 24.

Washington opened a crucial five-game Western road trip with a 3-0 loss at Winnipeg on Monday night. Connor Hellebuyck made 23 saves and the Jets scored midway through each of the three periods.

“They had the puck for 75 percent of the game, so that makes it difficult to create anything offensively,” Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said. “And then when we did (get into Winnipeg ice), just not nearly a good enough job of getting to the interior, and zero traffic on Hellebuyck, so anything that we did generate scoring chance wise, he saw it clean.”

Charlie Lindgren, who has started eight of Washington’s last nine games, made 26 saves for Washington. The Capitals were 7-2-1 in their previous 10 games.

Washington forward Tom Wilson did not play and is day to day with an upper-body injury. Forward Nic Dowd (upper body) and defenseman Martin Fehervary (lower body) are both nearing a return.

After scoring 10 goals in winning their previous two games, Washington was unable to light the lamp against Winnipeg. Now comes back-to-backs against Edmonton and the Seattle Kraken as the Capitals play five road games in eight days.

“We’ll get back to work at practice, and we’ll be better against Edmonton on Wednesday,” center Dylan Strome said. “Obviously, it’s an important road trip, but on

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