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Oilers prepare to face Capitals, Ovechkin

Despite a loss in overtime the last time out, the Edmonton Oilers held their own against one of the NHL's elite teams.

Next up, Edmonton will face the defending Stanley Cup champions -- a deep squad led by a seven-time goal scoring champion as part of a balanced offensive attack.

The Oilers close their four-game homestand Thursday night against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

"They're deep up and down. You don't win a Cup without being a really deep team," Edmonton captain Connor McDavid said Wednesday.

Coming off a shutout loss, the Oilers fell 6-5 in overtime to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday after a highlight-reel goal by Sidney Crosby.

Now, Edmonton (3-3-1) has to slow down a Washington team looking to win consecutive games for the first time in 2017-18. Stopping Ovechkin -- the league's leading active goal-scorer with 615 -- is key.

A three-time league MVP, Ovechkin is off to another hot start with eight goals and five assists in eight games. He scored twice and added two assists to lift the Capitals (4-2-2) to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday in the opener of a four-game Canadian road trip.

The 14-year veteran has a goal and five assists in his last three games in Edmonton. He also needs one power-play goal to tie Marcel Dionne for eighth on the career list with 234.

"It's almost like you know it's coming, but there is nothing you can do to stop it," McDavid said about Ovechkin's man-advantage scoring.

But Ovechkin is not all Edmonton must worry about. He is one of four Washington players with Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and John Carlson, who are tied for the team lead with 13 points.

"I would say Backstrom and Kuznetsov are as good as you're going to find in the league," noted McDavid, who has six points, including five assists, in five career games against the Caps.

Backstrom registered three assists -- including the 600th of his career -- in the win over the Canucks. Kuznetsov has two goals and three assists in a four-game streak, and Carlson is second in the league in scoring among defensemen.

Cam Talbot is expected to start his eighth straight game for the Oilers despite surrendering eight goals in his last two games.

"I think he's been a lot more consistent this year," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said Wednesday. "He's been a reassuring goaltender for our group. When things haven't gone well, he's been there for us."

Meanwhile, Washington's Braden Holtby is 7-2-1 with a 1.78 goals-against average, a .939 save percentage and two shutouts in his career versus Edmonton.

McDavid has scored all nine of his points this season in the last five games.

The Capitals will face the Calgary Flames on Saturday afternoon before wrapping up their first road trip of the season against the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 1.

"I think it is always important to have a trip like this early in the year," new Capitals coach Todd Reirden told the Washington Post on Tuesday. "It's (an) important part of growth of your team."

Updated October 24, 2018

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