10.23.13: Caps week in review
News and notes as the Capitals [4-5-0] prepare for tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers [3-6-1] at Rexall Place in Edmonton [9:30 p.m., CSN]:
Trip ticker: Tonight marks the second stop on a four-game road trip through Western Canada for the Caps. They opened the trip with a 5-4 shootout win in Winnipeg for their first back-to-back wins of the season.
Last time we met: The Caps handed the Oilers a 4-2 setback on Oct. 14 when Joel Ward, Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer scored goals 3:55 apart in the second period to break open a 1-1 game.
Angry at Ovi: Don’t be surprised if Alex Ovechkin and Jason Chimera draw a little extra attention from the Oilers tonight. Ovechkin checked forward Mike Brown from behind in their last meeting but refused to drop the gloves when Brown confronted him. “If I hit somebody from behind I’m going to expect someone to come after me,” Brown said after that game. “You have to expect that somebody is going to want revenge and somebody is going to be [ticked] off. A player like me, I’m going to expect that coming and a player like Ovechkin, if he’s doing that kind of stuff, he’s got to expect it, too. He’s not untouchable.” Chimera was fined $4,487.18 by the league for his check from behind on Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz in that Oct. 14 encounter.
Until we meet again: This is the first time the Caps are visiting Rexall Place since Oct. 27, 2011 when they dropped a 2-1 decision. The two teams do not face one another the remainder of the season.
Mike Green watch: Caps defenseman Mike Green was benched for the final half of the third period in Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Jets. He saw 18:13 of ice time, marking the first time this season he’s been under 20 minutes. Coach Adam Oates called it a “hiccup,“ but it will be interesting to see how much Green plays tonight.
Welcome home game: Coaches and players often say the first game home following a long road trip is a difficult one and the Oilers are playing their first game after a six-game road trip that began with four losses and ended with two wins in Ottawa and Montreal.
Poking the bear: Last week Caps defenseman Karl Alzner called the Oilers’ free-flowing style of play “organized shinny.” The comment didn’t drawn nearly as much attention as when Canadiens center Lars Eller said the Oilers play a little like a junior team. Eller’s comments made it to the Oilers locker room pretty quickly and motivated the Oil to a 4-3 win. Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said it was just the motivation thehis team needed at the end of a long road trip. "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," Eakins said. "We thank Lars Eller for his comments before the game. …They may as well have sent me over a fruit basket and a bottle of wine.”
Who’s hot: For the Caps, Alex Ovechkin has nine goals in nine games. The Caps also have the NHL’s No. 1 ranked power play at 11-for-35 [31.4 percent]. The Oilers rank 29th on the penalty kill at 72.2 percent. Oilers rookie Mark Arcobello has 10 assists in 10 games, while Jordan Eberle has six points in his past four games.
Injuries: Aside from defenseman Jack Hillen [broken right leg] the Caps are healthy. The Oilers are without left wing Taylor Hall, [knee, one month] forwards Ryan Smyth [groin], Jesse Joensuu [back], Sam Gagne [broken jaw], Ryan Hamilton [knee] and Steve MacIntyre [knee].