Preview: Capitals at Oilers
The Washington Capitals look to continue their strong start to the season when they open a three-game road trip against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday. Captain Alex Ovechkin resides five points behind Peter Bondra (825) on Washington's all-time list, although a shootout tally was all he mustered in his team's 2-1 victory over Florida on Saturday. Ovechkin has scored five goals and set up another this season, and has seven tallies and five assists in 12 career meetings with Edmonton.
While the Capitals have enjoyed the early portion of the season, the Oilers mustered just five goals in their previous three games before notching their first victory of the season with a 3-2 triumph over Tampa Bay on Monday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period while fellow former first-overall selection Taylor Hall converted a penalty shot and set up a tally in the win. Hall has collected three goals and two assists in his last three games.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, CSN DC (Washington) , RSN, RSN360 (Edmonton)
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (3-0-2): Jay Beagle is expected to make his season debut after suffering an upper-body injury during a preseason game versus Montreal on Sept. 28. The addition of Beagle comes at just the right time for Washington, which will be without Brooks Laich as the center suffered an upper-body injury on Saturday and isn't accompanying the team on its road trip. "It's sort of ideal where 'Beags' can play a number of positions," coach Barry Trotz said. "I put him out there today (in practice) to see how that might work and look. I've got Plan B in order if it's not working as well as I thought."
ABOUT THE OILERS (1-4-1): After keeping Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos off the scoresheet, Nugent-Hopkins knows that Edmonton hosts a bevy of heavyweights during its season-high seven-game homestand. "It's good to go up against guys like that, they definitely push you to play better," Nugent-Hopkins said. "Playing against him, we have Ovechkin coming up here and (Pittsburgh's Sidney) Crosby a little bit later. Those kinds of guys, they really make you play your best." Ben Scrivens, who likely will be in net to face Ovechkin, has split a pair of starts against the Capitals in his career.
1. Washington G Braden Holtby is expected to get the nod versus Edmonton, against which he owns a 3-0-0 record with a slim 1.00 goals-against average.
2. After going 3-for-6 on the power play in their first two contests, the Oilers are 0-for-11 in their last four.
3. Capitals D Karl Alzner is slated to play in his 300th consecutive game on Wednesday.
PREDICTION: Capitals 6, Oilers 1