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Capitals, Oilers hope to continue winning ways

by John Kreiser /

CAPITALS (4-5-0) at OILERS (3-6-1)


Season series: The Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals will finish their two-game series before Halloween. They met on Oct. 14 at Verizon Center, with the Capitals winning 4-2. This is Washington's first visit to Rexall Place in nearly two years; the Oilers won 2-1 on Oct. 27, 2011.

Big story: The Oilers return home from a six-game road trip that started with four consecutive losses but ended with back-to-back victories against the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens. The Capitals started their season by losing five of their first seven games but beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 at home Saturday and outlasted the Winnipeg Jets 5-4 in a shootout Tuesday to start a five-game trip.

Team Scope:

Capitals: The victory against the Jets was a classic example of winning ugly. Washington blew three one-goal leads, allowed the Jets to fire 47 shots at Braden Holtby and needed to score four times in the shootout to get the extra point.

Star defenseman Mike Green figures to be back in the lineup after being benched in Winnipeg. Green didn't play after the midway point of the third period. His 18:13 of ice time marked the first time this season he didn't play at least 20 minutes.

But coach Adam Oates said he anticipates having Green taking a regular shift in Edmonton.

"It's something that you feel as a coach in the course of the game, but Greenie's our man,” he said. "It's a minor hiccup."

Oilers: Montreal's Lars Eller suggested that the Oilers "play a little like a junior team, I think, sometimes" before the Canadiens raced out to a 2-0 first-period lead against Edmonton on Tuesday. The Oilers made Eller regret his words by rallying for a 4-3 victory at Bell Centre to complete their six-game trip on a positive note.

"When you have a player like Lars Eller running his mouth before the game, it makes for great banter in our dressing room and great motivation," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "We thank Lars Eller for his comments before the game."

Eakins says Eller's words were just the boost the Oilers needed at the end of a long trip.

"They may as well have sent me over a fruit basket and a bottle of wine," he said. "I was like, 'Man, that is just perfect.'"

Who's hot: Alex Ovechkin had a pair of goals for the Capitals in Winnipeg, giving him nine in Washington's first nine games, marking the second-best start of his career. He had nine goals in eight games to start the 2009-10 season. … Unheralded rookie Mark Arcobello had a pair of assists against Montreal, giving him 10 in 10 games, though he's still without a goal. Jordan Eberle also had two assists against the Canadiens and has six points in his past four games.

Injury report: The Capitals are without defenseman Jack Hillen, who is recovering from surgery on his right leg. … Edmonton is without star left wing Taylor Hall, who is expected to miss a month with a knee injury. Also out of the lineup are forwards Ryan Smyth (groin), Jesse Joensuu (back), Sam Gagner (broken jaw), Ryan Hamilton (knee) and Steve MacIntyre (knee). Defenseman Corey Potter (back) is skating but has yet to play a game this season.

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