The Washington Capitals have been flirting with a three-game losing streak for almost three weeks but look to avoid their first of the season when they continue a three-game road trip Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers. Washington has dropped back-to-back contests for the third time since Oct. 9 but managed to stop the skids from growing each of the first two occurrences.
The Capitals began their trek Thursday with a 6-2 loss at Vancouver and have scored a total of three goals over their last two contests. Edmonton ended its three-game slide at home on Thursday as it staged a late comeback and edged Dallas 5-4 in the opener of a five-game stretch at Rogers Place. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins forged a tie at 12:16 of the third period and defenseman Matt Benning snapped it with 2:27 remaining as the Oilers posted their first home win since blanking Calgary 3-0 in the season opener on Oct. 4. Edmonton captain Connor McDavid has recorded a goal in each of his last two contests to end a six-game drought that began after he started the campaign with a hat trick versus the Flames.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBCSN Washington, Sportsnet One, CBC (Edmonton)
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (4-5-1): Washington was missing a key player Thursday as Nicklas Backstrom sat out the setback due to illness. The 29-year-old Swedish center is tied with captain Alex Ovechkin for second on the team with 12 points - one behind leader Evgeny Kuznetsov, who scored his first goal of the season in Thursday’s defeat. Brett Connolly could miss Saturday’s contest after leaving the loss to Vancouver early in the second period with an upper-body injury.
ABOUT THE OILERS (3-5-1): Leon Draisaitl is off to a slow start in the goal-scoring department, recording just one in five games after netting a career-high 29 tallies last season. The German center, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Friday, is tied for the team lead in assists, however, raising his total to five after notching three against the Stars. Nugent-Hopkins scored a pair of goals in Thursday’s win, ending a five-game drought while doubling his season total.
1. McDavid’s goal against Dallas was the 51st of his career and gave him 158 points in 136 NHL games.
2. Washington C Chandler Stephenson made his season debut Thursday in place of Backstrom and scored his first NHL goal.
3. Edmonton’s victory on Thursday marked the first time this season it scored more than three goals.
PREDICTION: Oilers 5, Capitals 3