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Preview: Capitals at Oilers

Andre Burakovsky on top line for start of Washington's four-game Western Canada trip; Cam Talbot again in goal for Edmonton

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

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

9:30 p.m. ET; SN360, SN1, SNO, SNW, CSN-DC, NHL.TV

 

Capitals team scope

The Washington Capitals begin a four game Western Canada road trip Wednesday looking to rebound from their first regulation loss of the season, a 4-2 against the New York Rangers on Saturday. "It's very important to have a good start because it's going to be a tough road trip with the time change and we don't play a lot against these guys," Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said. "So it's a huge opportunity to take a step forward." After the Edmonton Oilers, the Capitals play the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets during their second longest road trip of the season. "Obviously our last game didn't end the way we wanted to, so we want to get back on track," Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby said. "That's one of the things that makes a team very good, is their ability to bounce back after a loss and this is our opportunity to do that early on in the season." Aiding their effort will be help from their special team. Their power play has two goals in 16 opportunities (12.5 percent) and they've allowed four goals in 14 times shorthanded (71.4 percent). "Our special teams, it's a small sample, we know we can be better on both ends of that," coach Barry Trotz said. "The problem with small samples is that when you give up a goal, a big chunk of your percentage gets eaten up. Trust me, I think our special teams will be where they normally are after 82 games."

 

Oilers team scope

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson is familiar with the Capitals from his time with the New Jersey Devils and is looking forward to playing against Ovechkin. Larsson has been key to the Oilers' strong defense during their three-game win streak, during which the Oilers have allowed three goals in wins against the Carolina Hurricanes, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets. "I think it's like all the top scorers, you have to be close to them and have a good stick," Larsson said. "Obviously, he [Ovechkin] is one of the best in the League and it's going to be a great challenge for all the [defensemen] today. I think everybody is pretty excited to play, not just against him but they have a lot of weapons. It's going to be a great challenge for us." The Oilers are off to their best start since beginning the 1985-86 season 5-1-0, but they'll need more than captain Connor McDavid, who has four goals and five assists in six games, supplying the offense. In six games, center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins does not have a goal and left wing Benoit Pouliot has one goal and one assist. "It's something that I'm not going to worry too much about this early in the season," Nugent-Hopkins said. "I think if I keep playing the way I'm playing it'll start showing up more. I think our line is playing both ends of the ice. We create a lot. We just need to finish more."

 

Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Andre Burakovsky

Marcus Johansson -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Zachary Sanford -- Lars Eller -- Justin Williams

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- Matt Niskanen

Dmitry Orlov -- John Carlson

Brooks Orpik -- Nate Schmidt

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Taylor Chorney, Brett Connolly

Injured:None

 

Oilers projected lineup

Milan Lucic -- Connor McDavid -- Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Zack Kassian

Patrick Maroon -- Leon Draisaitl -- Jesse Puljujarvi

Tyler Pitlick -- Mark Letestu -- Anton Lander

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Eric Gryba

Cam Talbot

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Anton Slepyshev, Matthew Benning

Injured: Drake Caggiula (hip), Matt Hendricks (lower body), Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Brandon Davidson (upper body), Mark Fayne (lower body)

 

Status report

Talbot will make his seventh consecutive start. He has played in all but 10:04 of the Oilers' first six games. … Burakovsky will play on the Capitals' top line for the first time this season.

 

Who's hot

McDavid, who is tied for second in the League with nine points, has a goal and two assists in his past two games. … Letestu has a goal and two assists in his past three games. … Ovechkin is on a three-game goal scoring streak.

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