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Caps aim for sixth straight win against Oilers

by Brian Compton
OILERS (23-36-8) at CAPITALS (37-20-10)


Last 10: Edmonton 6-4-0; Washington 8-2-0.

Season Series: This is the lone meeting between the teams. They haven't faced each other since Dec. 19, 2009, when Washington earned a 4-2 win at Rexall Place.

Big Story: They've had to rally each and every time, but the Capitals enter Wednesday's action riding a five-game winning streak. Their recent surge has allowed the Caps to move back into first place in the Southeast Division, two points ahead of second-place Tampa Bay. Washington beat the Bolts in a shootout on Monday night.

"I don't think we're dwelling on first place," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think we're comfortable playing the underdog role or of that as a favorite, but at the same time we want to be as high as we can."

Team Scope:

Oilers: Edmonton saw its three-game win streak end emphatically on Tuesday night, when it suffered a 4-1 loss at Philadelphia. The Oilers trailed 2-0 after the first 20 minutes, during which time they were outshot 17-1.

"It is one thing to respect your opponent and it is another thing to respect them and just stand still and watch them play," coach Tom Renney said. "Ultimately we got our legs under us when the horse was out of the barn. The fact of the matter is we came out in the second and third period and outshot the team in both, but they were up three goals so it was game, set and match."

Capitals: Washington had an unlikely hero in its 2-1 shootout win against the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum on Monday night, as Braden Holtby entered the game for the injured Michal Neuvirth at the start of the second period and went on to stop all 21 shots he faced. Holtby then added an exclamation point when he went 3-for-3 in the shootout.

"I think it's one of the tougher things to do," Holtby said of entering the game cold. "But you have so much adrenalin -- especially at this level -- that when you get told you're going in that you usually feed off that and then just hope for the best, try and battle as hard as you can, and hopefully the pucks hit you."

Who's Hot: Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff was held off the scoresheet Tuesday night, but the veteran still has three points in as many games. … Caps forward Alexander Semin has a three-game point streak, while Alex Ovechkin has 4 goals and 9 assists in the last 10 games. Washington has won eight of those contests.

Injury Report: Edmonton is without Taylor Hall for the remainder of the season after the No. 1 pick at the 2010 Entry Draft injured his ankle during a fight last Thursday. Ryan Whitney (knee), Taylor Chorney (upper body) and Theo Peckham (head) are also out. … For the Caps, Tom Poti (groin) and Jay Beagle (upper body) are day-to-day, while Semyon Varlamov (knee), Nicklas Backstrom (finger) and Neuvirth (eye) are questionable. Mike Green (head) is out. 

Stat Pack: The Oilers had outscored their opponents 11-4 during their three-game streak, but allowed the Flyers to score the first three goals Tuesday. … The Capitals last won six straight games from Oct. 30-Nov. 11.

Puck Drop: "He doesn't have to do anything. I've seen him play before, and he's been good. We have all the faith in the world. If we have to go with Braden, great. If we have to go with Neuvie, great. If we have to go with Varley, great." -- Caps coach Bruce Boudreau on his goaltending situation

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