The Edmonton Oilers meet the Washington Capitals for the first time in almost three years tonight at Rexall Place.
Edmonton comes into the game riding a five-game winning streak on home ice to start the season. At 6-3-0 through their first nine outings, the team was off to their best start in almost 20 years.
Through Washingtons first eight games, they had a 3-2-3 start with their only regulation losses coming to the NY Rangers and Tampa Bay. The start is the best for the Caps since they opened 2002-03 with a 4-3-1 record.
The last time these two teams met was way back on January 11, 2004 when the Capitals defeated the Oilers 1-0 at MCI Center in Washington. The Caps last appearance in Edmonton was a 5-3 Oilers victory on March 22, 2003.
OILERS TO WATCH: After being recalled from Iowa yesterday, Toby Petersen will play his first-ever regular season game as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. He will be on a line with Marty Reasoner and Brad Winchester. In Iowa, he had eight points (two goals, six assists) through seven games and had a +6 rating... Jarret Stoll is on a three-game scoring streak with three goals and three assists over the past three games. Ales Hemsky
is on a three-game streak with a goal and four assists for five points.
CAPITALS TO WATCH: Forget Ovechkin, the Alexander making waves in Washington this season is Alexander Semin. With at least a point in each of his first eight games before going scoreless last night, Semin matched Ovechkins feat from last season. He also leads Washington with eight goals which gives them an outstanding two-pronged attack and takes some heat off his fellow countryman. Last season, the Capitals did not have a player other than Ovechkin get eight goals until Matt Pettinger scored on December 23 Brian Pothier has proven to be dangerous on the back end for the Caps this season with eight assists through the first eight games
ROSTER UPDATES: Edmonton – Ethan Moreau (shoulder) is out; Jarret Stoll (back) is probable. Washington – Alexander Ovechkin (leg) is probable, Matt Pettinger (upper body) is questionable.
QUOTABLE: "The common complaint around the city when you're talking to fans is that they want to see everybody. I don't think it's any secret that we're in the fan accomodation business rather than the coach travel business so I'd look to see that changed likely." - Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish on the NHL's current schedule format which sees players like Washington's Alexander Ovechkin visit cities like Edmonton rarely.
FAST FACTS: The Caps have scored eight power play goals this season and seven have been scored by either Ovechkin or Semin Semin has recorded six of his 12 points and four of his eight goals in the first period. Ovechkin has recorded four of his eight points and three of his five goals in the third period Chris Clark was the first Capitals captain in the teams 30-year history to record points in his first six games wearing the C.