Perhaps no other player in the NHL has been as hot as Alex Ovechkin to start the season, and the Russian star’s dominance extends back further than that. In his last 30 regular season games, the Washington Capitals sniper has scored 31 goals and he will now try and lead his team to a win over the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers have won two consecutive games after a 1-6-1 start to the season, and the Capitals are facing the second of four road games out West. For all the scoring Ovechkin has been doing, the Capitals (4-5-0) still have a losing record. That’s because there’s a huge drop-off in production after Ovechkin, and goaltenders Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth have struggled.
Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk can sympathize with the problems facing the Capitals netminders, as he has repeatedly been asked to turn aside 30 or more shots while getting little offensive support. The Oilers are without young star Taylor Hall, and need to see Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins keep contributing to be successful. After Ovechkin, Mikhail Grabovksi is second in goals for Washington – and three of his four tallies came on opening night. Nicklas Backstrom has 10 points but only one goal, and rookie Connor Carrick is the only defenseman to have chipped in on the offensive end of the ice. The Capitals can’t keep wasting the efforts of their captain, and an Oilers team full of young scoring talent gives them a chance to show they can play as a team and make this a successful trip against Western Conference foes.