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PRE-GAME REPORT: Oilers at Capitals

The Oilers conclude their four-game road trip with a match against the Washington Capitals

by Paul Gazzola & Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers end their four-game Eastern road swing (2-1-0) with a game against the Washington Capitals.

You can watch the game on Sportsnet West or listen via 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.

Video: OILERS TODAY | @ Capitals Pre-Game

 

INSIDE THE OILERS

Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi scores in his first game this season and notes from the Oilers road trip.

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

WASHINGTON, DC - The Oilers are in Washington D.C. to take on the Capitals and close out their four-game road trip out east. It's a rematch of the October 28, meeting in which the Oil dropped a 5-2 decision.

Laurent Brossoit will make his first start of the trip between the pipes for Edmonton.

"LB will play today," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "It's his opportunity to go in and help his team toward two points and we feel he can do a good job."

Brossoit has just one start this season and has appeared in three games, posting an .854 save percentage. It's a tough task for Brossoit and the Oilers, who face a Capitals team that's won four of its last five games.

SPECIAL TEAMS BATTLE

The Oilers penalty kill turned a corner on this road trip, shutting down the first two opponents: the Islanders and Devils. But against the Rangers yesterday, special teams were the difference. The Rangers scored back-to-back power-play goals to help propel them to a 4-2 victory.

"I think it's only executing our plan," said Oilers winger Iiro Pakarinen. "In the Islanders and Devils games we played really good on the PK like we did last year. I think that's how it should be. But in the Rangers game, of course they have a good power play but we just didn't execute our plan."

The Oilers PK faces a Washington power play that has converted at just 19.6%, but is still lethal.

"I think the winner tonight is going to be who wins the special teams game," said Pakarinen.

PULJUJARVI'S IMPACT

The Oilers recalled on Jesse Puljujarvi from Bakersfield on Friday. On Saturday, he scored his first goal of the season. Tonight, he'll be expected to contribute again and provide a boost to the Oilers forward group.

"We were aware that he had that in his game… He did a lot of the things last night that we've been asking him to do," said McLellan. "He kept plays alive, he worked in straight lines, he had a great stick on the forecheck, he used his skating and his size to his advantage, he worked himself into holes where he could get his shot off, and he played with a lot of confidence so that's a real positive sign for us after one game. In that short little timeframe, he regained some confidence and played like the player we believe he can be. That's a good thing for us, especially with the bottom six struggling."

-- Chris Wescott, EdmontonOilers.com

PREVIEW

OILERS (6-9-1) at CAPITALS (9-7-1)

TV: 5:00 p.m. MST; Televised on Sportsnet West

Head-to-Head:

The Oilers and Capitals met already this season on October 28. Washington scored three third-period goals to defeat the Oilers 5-2. This is their second and final meeting of the 2017-18 season.

Oilers team scope:

The Oilers opened their four-game Eastern road trip with back-to-back overtime winners, beating the New York Islanders (2-1) and New Jersey Devils (3-2). 

Edmonton lost their first game of the road swing to the New York Rangers on Saturday by a score of 4-2. Jesse Puljujarvi scored in his first game since being recalled from the American Hockey League's Bakersfield Condors. The Finn skated on the Oilers second line alongside Milan Lucic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Capitals team scope:

The Caps rolled past the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 4-1 on Friday. With the win, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby recorded his 200th NHL victory in only his 319th game.

The club is 4-1-0 so far in the month of November. The sole loss for the Caps was against the Buffalo Sabres, who beat Washington 3-1 on Tuesday. 

Washington sits sixth in the Metropolitan Division with 19 points.

By the Numbers:

The Capitals are on a three-game home winning streak. Alex Ovechkin leads the team in scoring with 13 goals and 19 points in 17 games. Nicklas Backstrom leads the team in power-play points with seven.

The Oilers have the worst penalty kill in the National Hockey League at 69.8 percent. The team's power play is 27th at 14.9 percent. Connor McDavid leads the team in scoring with seven goals and 19 points. Oscar Klefbom leads the team in time on ice, averaging 23:53 per night.

Injury Report:

OILERS - Andrej Sekera (knee) is out; Drake Caggiula (ankle) is day-to-day;

CAPITALS - Brett Connolly (upper body) is day-to-day; Tyler Graovac (upper body) is day-to-day; Natt Niskanen (upper body) is day-to-day; Andre Burakovsky (upper body) is on IR.

-- Paul Gazzola, EdmontonOilers.com

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