Oilers’ Chiasson making return to D.C. to face Capitals
The defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals host the Edmonton Oilers Monday for the second and final meeting between the two teams this season after the Oilers won the first meeting 4-1 at home on Oct. 25.
After finishing 12th in the Western Conference last season, the Oilers have started strong this year in the Pacific Division with an 8-4-1 record. Edmonton enters the game against Washington (5-4-3) with points in six of their last seven games. They have gone 5-1-1 in that span.
Edmonton forward Alex Chiasson makes his first return to Washington after he helped the Capitals take home the Stanley Cup last season. Chiasson, 27, is getting consistent time in the Oilers’ top-six forward group. He has six goals in his last seven games.
He comes into Monday’s game against his former team on a three-game goal scoring streak, where he has tallied three goals in that span. Chiasson scored against the Capitals the first time these two teams met. He recorded nine goals and 18 points in 61 regular season games and one goal and one assist in 16 playoff games with the Capitals last year.
Chiasson told the Washington Post he developed a strong friendship with Alex Ovechkin in his one memorable season with the Capitals.
“He’s helped me with my game,” Chiasson said of Ovechkin. “I know some people maybe don’t realize that, but he helped me out with my game a lot last year and maybe changed some stuff with my game that can help me on the ice. We have an awesome relationship. I wish I could have played with him longer, but you never know. Hopefully we cross paths again.
“It’s a special relationship that we have together. I am assuming like I said that it will last for a long time, and I am hopeful that we will cross paths again.”
The Oilers kicked off their four-game road trip with a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night. After Monday night’s meeting with the Capitals, the Oilers will play a back-to-back game at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. The road trip ends Thursday against the Florida Panthers.
The Oilers are led by captain Connor McDavid, who is currently tied with Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon for second in scoring in the NHL with 21 points, three points behind Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen for the league lead.
McDavid, 21, has also recorded a team-high nine goals. He has led the league in scoring in consecutive years with consecutive 100-plus point seasons (108 last season and 100 in 2016-17). He finished sixth in the NHL with 41 goals last season.
Oilers center Leon Draisaitl has also averaged a point-per-game with seven goals and 14 points this season..
The Capitals play the second game of a five-game homestand against the Oilers. They opened the homestand with a 4-3 loss in overtime to the Dallas Stars on Saturday night, their third loss in their past four games.
Washington allowed four goals off turnovers.
“Some unforced errors cost us,” Coach Todd Reirden said.
Washington has scored at least three goals in five of their six home games this season and has averaged 4.33 goals per game at home. Washington is tied for first in the league with the Pittsburgh Penguins with an average of 3.75 goals per game. They are also first in the league in power play efficiency (35.9 percent).
“We played the way we wanted to for parts of it,” Washington goalie Braden Holtby said of the game against the Stars. “There’s some positive things in there, but myself, everyone, we still want to keep pushing forward.”
The Capitals have four of the NHL’s top seven league leaders in power-play points: centers Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov are tied for second with New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Reilly with nine while forward Alex Ovechkin and defenseman John Carlson are tied with McDavid and Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron for sixth in the league. Kuznetsov, 26, leads the league with five power-play goals.
The Capitals could get defenseman Brooks Orpik back in the lineup Monday. Orpik, who has missed the past two games due to a lower-body injury, has posted a goal and two points in 10 games this season. Defenseman Madison Bowey has played the past two games in the 38-year old defenseman’s spot.
The Capitals have allowed an average of 3.83 goals per game, which is the fourth worst in the league. Washington has also yielded an average of 32.5 shots per game, which is tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the 11th most in the NHL.