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Oilers score twice late, defeat Capitals in shootout

by Adam Vingan /

WASHINGTON -- Not since early November had the Edmonton Oilers won consecutive games.

On Tuesday, trailing by two goals with five minutes remaining in regulation, it seemed they would stumble into the All-Star break without that modest winning streak.

But the Oilers scored twice to tie it, and then defeated the Capitals 5-4 in a shootout for their second straight victory.

"We can definitely take some positives out of this," Oilers coach Todd Nelson said. "It was a good character win. The guys stuck with it, but there are also things we still have to work on. Our power play has to be better than it was tonight (1-for-6). We had plenty of opportunities to get back in the game. All in all I think there's a lot of room for improvement, but we're happy with the way the guys stuck with it."

Derek Roy, Nikita Nikitin, Teddy Purcell and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for Edmonton (12-26-9), which was the only NHL team without a win when trailing after the first period. The Capitals held a 3-1 lead at the first intermission.

"I think we played good tonight," Fasth said. "When you're in shootouts, it's always 50-50, I think, but we've been able to win two in a row now and that's really good. [We're] finishing off here before the break on a high note."

Nugent-Hopkins tied the game with 1:07 remaining and Fasth pulled, curling into the right circle and sliding a wrist shot past goalie Braden Holtby.

"I was going for the bank shot," Nugent-Hopkins said.

"I just tried to find [Roy] who was left alone there for a second and luckily it bounced of their D-man and snuck under [Holtby]."

Alex Ovechkin, Jay Beagle and Nicklas Backstrom scored for Washington (24-13-9). The Capitals have one point in their past three games (0-2-1) after collecting points in 18 of the prior 19 games (14-1-4).

"Throughout the year we've been strong [at protecting leads]," Beagle said. "We've been working on it and we were a lot better. In the last three games, we got away from it a little bit. I think we take our foot off the gas and kind of let teams creep back in. It's a learning process and we've just got to make sure we learn from it and make sure this doesn't happen again."

Motivated to rebound from consecutive regulation losses to the Nashville Predators (4-3) and Dallas Stars (5-4) on Friday and Saturday, the Capitals began the game with jump.

Ovechkin went to the net early in the first period, drawing a penalty when Benoit Pouliot pulled him down. Ovechkin recovered, picking the top-right corner with a rising long-range slap shot at 1:48.

Later, with Washington on the power play, Mike Green flinched before passing to Ovechkin, freezing Fasth and freeing enough space for Ovechkin to take a slap shot with enough force to shatter the lens of the camera inside Edmonton's net.

The goal at 13:58 gave Ovechkin his 92nd multigoal game in the NHL, one from tying Peter Bondra's Capitals record.

The Oilers, held without a shot on goal until 12:34, scored at 14:51. After Edmonton gained possession along the boards, Roy spun off Matt Niskanen as the two jostled in front and backhanded Nail Yakupov's blocked shot past Holtby's outstretched left leg for his fourth goal of the season.

Beagle's seventh goal of the season, scored on a tip-in of a John Carlson shot at 17:34, gave Washington its 3-1 lead.

In the second period, the Oilers' best scoring chances came in the last minute. Holtby stopped Nugent-Hopkins on a 2-on-1 with Taylor Hall at 19:20, but did not save Nikitin's one-timer with :04 left. After Niskanen kneed Roy to set up an Oilers power play at 19:53, Edmonton quickly converted on a set play when Nugent-Hopkins won the faceoff.

"That goal at the end of the second period was kind of a killer for us," Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik said.

Niskanen committed another penalty at 3:02 of the third period. Washington killed it and scored shortly after when Backstrom deflected Carlson's point shot past Fasth at 6:38.

The Oilers were the more aggressive team in the third period, and the Capitals certainly played a part in Edmonton's 14-5 shot advantage. Washington committed three penalties in the period and five straight between the second and third.

Purcell made it 4-3 with 4:11 left after the Oilers freed the puck from a scrum behind the net.

"It was a pretty weird hockey game," Nelson said. "[Purcell's] goal really sparked our bench and gave us an opportunity to tie it up."

In the shootout, Purcell beat Holtby with a wrist shot in the bottom of the fourth round.

"I don't think we'd be excited with how we played a full 60 minutes," Purcell said. "There's a couple times in the second [period] that I think we were thinking that there was no chance we should be even in this game. We hung around and found a way in the third."

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