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PREVIEW: Oilers vs. Capitals

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers
TV: Sportsnet Oilers (HD)

RADIO: 630 CHED & Oilers Radio Network
PUCK DROP: 7:38 p.m. MT



The Edmonton Oilers game tonight against the Washington Capitals comes just 10 days following their showdown in D.C. That game ended up in a 4-2 decision for the Capitals and it's a result the Oilers are hoping not to repeat in their rematch.

"At least you have a little bit of a feel for what they're looking to do and it's fresh in your mind," said Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "The good thing is we don't have to spend a lot of time on 5-on-5, pre-scout video and things like that. We can just get right to the details very quickly. For me it's always good to play teams right away after. The competitiveness of the game is still there. Obviously, we'd like to rebound off of the game that we played in Washington as well."

It definitely helps a bit," said forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. " We got a look at them a week ago and definitely didn't have the result or the game that we wanted. We want to redeem ourselves here and just continue with the momentum that we got at the end of the road trip."

The difference in the previous matchup that resulted in the loss was the fact that the Oilers couldn't win the battles they needed to, when they needed to.

"The biggest thing for us was that they won most of the battles," said the Oilers centre. "When we're losing battles, we're not going to win our games. You saw it in the Montreal game. In the second couple of periods, we really started to win our battles and things definitely changed for us."


Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is off to another great start to his season, currently in the league lead for goals in the NHL with nine.

The Caps offensive superstar had a goal and an assist against the Oilers the last time these two teams met, on October 14. He also added a team high four shots and five blocks. Edmonton will make it a focus of their game plan to shutdown Ovechkin.

"He has such a great shot and he can make really good moves, obviously," said Nugent-Hopkins. "You've just got to try and keep him to the outside as much as possible and we have confidence in (Devan Dubnyk) to stop those outside shots."


Oilers centre Mark Arcobello is currently tied for the league lead in assists with 10 in 10 games played. Coming into the season the 25-year-old rookie never thought he'd be mentioned in the same breath as Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh or Henrik Sedin in Vancouver. However he is not letting all of the recent media attention go to his head.

"No, nothing's really changed for me," said Arcobello. "I'm trying to work my way into a permanent spot here. I'm trying to help my team win as best I can and so far I've had success and I'll prolong it as much as possible."

Despite the offensive success that Arcobello has had, he has yet to score his first NHL goal. The former undrafted Yale product says he is not worried about that and knows that if he keeps at it, the lamp will light eventually.

"I can't worry about scoring goals. I have to keep going and playing a smart defensive game and chip in offensively when I can. If the opportunity comes to put the puck in the net, I've got to bare down and finish but until then, I'll keep working hard."

Arcobello hasn't planned his goal celebration yet.

"No," said Arcobello with a laugh. "I'm trying not to think about it at all. I'll just play my game and let the chips fall where they may. I'll keep working as hard as I can and get to the front of the net and bury some loose pucks."

-- Chris Wescott,


CAPITALS (4-5-0) at OILERS (3-6-1)


Season series: The Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals will finish their two-game series before Halloween. They met on Oct. 14 at Verizon Center, with the Capitals winning 4-2. This is Washington's first visit to Rexall Place in nearly two years; the Oilers won 2-1 on Oct. 27, 2011.

Big story: The Oilers return home from a six-game road trip that started with four consecutive losses but ended with back-to-back victories against the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens. The Capitals started their season by losing five of their first seven games but beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 at home Saturday and outlasted the Winnipeg Jets 5-4 in a shootout Tuesday to start a five-game trip.

Team Scope:

Capitals: The victory against the Jets was a classic example of winning ugly. Washington blew three one-goal leads, allowed the Jets to fire 47 shots at Braden Holtby and needed to score four times in the shootout to get the extra point.

Star defenceman Mike Green figures to be back in the lineup after being benched in Winnipeg. Green didn't play after the midway point of the third period. His 18:13 of ice time marked the first time this season he didn't play at least 20 minutes.

But coach Adam Oates said he anticipates having Green taking a regular shift in Edmonton.

"It's something that you feel as a coach in the course of the game, but Greenie's our man,” he said. "It's a minor hiccup."

Oilers: Montreal's Lars Eller suggested that the Oilers "play a little like a junior team, I think, sometimes" before the Canadiens raced out to a 2-0 first-period lead against Edmonton on Tuesday. The Oilers made Eller regret his words by rallying for a 4-3 victory at Bell Centre to complete their six-game trip on a positive note.

"When you have a player like Lars Eller running his mouth before the game, it makes for great banter in our dressing room and great motivation," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "We thank Lars Eller for his comments before the game."

Eakins says Eller's words were just the boost the Oilers needed at the end of a long trip.

"They may as well have sent me over a fruit basket and a bottle of wine," he said. "I was like, 'Man, that is just perfect.'"

Who's hot: Alex Ovechkin had a pair of goals for the Capitals in Winnipeg, giving him nine in Washington's first nine games, marking the second-best start of his career. He had nine goals in eight games to start the 2009-10 season. … Unheralded rookie Mark Arcobello had a pair of assists against Montreal, giving him 10 in 10 games, though he's still without a goal. Jordan Eberle also had two assists against the Canadiens and has six points in his past four games.

Injury report: The Capitals are without defenceman Jack Hillen, who is recovering from surgery on his right leg. … Edmonton is without star left wing Taylor Hall, who is expected to miss a month with a knee injury. Also out of the lineup are forwards Ryan Smyth (groin), Jesse Joensuu (back), Sam Gagner (broken jaw), Ryan Hamilton (knee) and Steve MacIntyre (knee). Defenceman Corey Potter (back) is skating but has yet to play a game this season.

-- Brian Hunter- Staff Writer

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