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At the Rink: Oilers at Capitals

by Katie Brown

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Forward Nicklas Backstrom underscored the importance of the Washington Capitals (13-5-1) having a strong start Monday when they play the Edmonton Oilers (7-12-1) at Verizon Center (7 p.m. ET; SNW, CSN-DC).

The Capitals broke a nine-game streak of giving up the first goal of a game in their 7-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday and scored four goals in the first period.

Against the Oilers, a quick, fast-skating team, the Capitals have to be cautious they don't get caught in a run-and-gun game.

"Last time we played them (a 7-4 win in Edmonton on Oct. 23), I thought they were pretty quick," Backstrom said. "They're always dangerous, wherever they are. They can score from everywhere. They go to the net and crash the net. We really better be good defensively and I think it's important too that we have a good start and we play the same way and have the same start as last game."

Forward Andre Burakovsky will be scratched for a second consecutive game. Stanislav Galiev will replace him in the lineup.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said although he hasn't necessarily been displeased with Burakovsky's performance, he wants to help him work through the funk he's found himself in.

After having four points in his first five games, Burakovsky had one point in his past 11 before sitting out.

"He's just got to clear his mind and I think he's a young guy who's thinking about a lot of things," Trotz said. "I just talked to him about worrying about his own game, not worrying about all the other stuff. He's getting frustrated over things he doesn't need to get frustrated over. He's overthinking things."

Defenseman Brooks Orpik will miss his sixth consecutive game because of a lower-body injury.

Goaltender Anders Nilsson will make his seventh start in nine games for the Oilers. Nilsson is 4-4-1 with a 3.04 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in nine starts this season.

Braden Holtby will start in goal for Washington.

Here are the projected lineups:


Taylor Hall - Leon Draisaitl - Teddy Purcell

Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Matt Hendricks - Mark Letestu - Nail Yakupov

Anton Lander - Lauri Korpikoski - Iiro Pakarinen

Oscar Klefbom - Mark Fayne

Darnell Nurse - Eric Gryba

Andrej Sekera - Brandon Davidson

Anders Nilsson

Cam Talbot

Injured: Connor McDavid (broken clavicle), Justin Schultz (back), Rob Klinkhammer (undisclosed), Luke Gazdic (undisclosed)

Scratched: Griffin Reinhart, Andrew Ference


Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Stanislav Galiev

Brooks Laich- Michael Latta - Tom Wilson

Nate Schmidt - John Carlson

Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner

Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body)

Scratched: Andre Burakovsky

Status update: Korpikoski will move to center and Lander will play left wing against the Capitals.

Who's hot: Draisaitl has 17 points in 10 games, the most for an Oilers player in his first 10 games of a season since Mark Messier in 1989-90. ... Hall has eight points in his past five games. … Backstrom has four points in his past three games.

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