Oilers look for offense at home vs. Capitals

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The Edmonton Oilers hope a return home will rejuvenate their offense.

The Pacific Division-leading Oilers will play host to the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

The Oilers failed to score on a two-game trip to Winnipeg and Minnesota, losing 1-0 in a shootout to the Jets on Sunday before dropping a 3-0 decision to the Wild on Tuesday.

Edmonton is 4-0-0 this season at home, having scored 17 goals at Rogers Place.

“The guys are looking forward to getting back (home) and getting in a groove. We have a good challenge coming up here,” forward Riley Sheahan told NHL.com.

Oilers star Connor McDavid has been held pointless in his past three games, only the second time in his career that’s happened.

“We need to give our top guys some relief,” Sheahan said. “I don’t know what we do, maybe take the puck to the net a bit more and try to score some dirty ones and things like that, but we definitely need to help out.

“It’s one thing to get into the (offensive) zone, it’s another getting on the scoresheet.”

The Capitals are riding a four-game winning streak. They opened their season-high, five-game trip with 5-3 victories at Chicago and Calgary. They’ll remain north of the border for a game Friday at Vancouver before wrapping up the trip Tuesday in Toronto.

“That’s a huge challenge, going on that length of a trip,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. “It’s not easy, the change in time zones. You see some of the teams out west have really improved their teams over the summer, so it’s a challenge always.”

The Capitals are 5-1-0 on the road this season. One of the biggest reasons has been their power play, which is still clicking at 38.9 percent away from home despite an 0-for-3 performance Tuesday in Calgary.

“We’ve been pretty good on the road,” Washington forward T.J. Oshie said, “and that’s a pretty good thing to see early, obviously. It’s going to start getting really important towards the end of the year.

“You want to have good feelings of being able to go into other team’s barns and find ways to get wins. We did a good job at the end of the homestand there, and a pretty good start here. We’re a good road team so far.”

Washington’s John Carlson tallied twice against the Flames, extending his scoring streak to a career-high eight games and becoming the third defenseman in NHL history to reach the 20-point mark in 11 or fewer games.

Alex Ovechkin scored late in the second period — 10 seconds after Calgary had tied the score — to extend his points streak to eight games, and Tom Wilson netted the winner for the second consecutive game.

“For me, the whole game goes back to Ovechkin’s goal,” Reirden said. “We give up the lead, and you need a response from your leaders. And (Nicklas) Backstrom with a phenomenal play to Ovechkin to answer right back.

“Those are huge, huge goals. Game management and understanding the time, and that’s why they are who they are.”

–Field Level Media

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