Winning at home hasn’t always seemed as easy as it has been this season for the Washington Capitals.
Matchups with the Edmonton Oilers have been an exception.
The Capitals, trying to bounce back from a rare loss at Verizon Center, look to win their seventh straight home game against the Oilers when the teams meet Tuesday night.
Southeast Division-leading Washington (27-13-3) has enjoyed outstanding success at Verizon Center, going 18-2-1. Only San Jose has a better home record at 19-0-2.
The Capitals’ record at Verizon Center was .500 or worse in three straight seasons before going 23-15-3 in 2007-08, when they made the postseason for the first time in five years.
Washington, though, hasn’t wavered at home against Edmonton (20-18-3) for more than a decade, winning six straight there in the series since a 3-1 loss on Jan. 26, 1997. That game is the Oilers’ only victory in 12 visits to the nation’s capital since 1990.
The Capitals beat Edmonton 5-4 in a shootout at Washington last Jan. 17 in the teams’ only meeting of 2007-08. It was the fourth time in the Capitals’ last five home games in this series they’ve scored four goals.
Washington could use another big game offensively as they try to rebound from their first home shutout of the season, 3-0 to Columbus on Friday night. It was Washington’s first loss at Verizon Center in 10 games and ended its seven-game winning streak overall.
“It has to happen one day,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said of the home streak ending. “You get snakebitten. But good teams rebound from it and, hopefully, we’re a good team.”
The Capitals didn’t rebound the next night in Montreal, losing 5-4, and now are in danger of dropping a season-high three straight for the third time.
The back-to-back defeats cost Boudreau an All-Star bid. Montreal’s Guy Carbonneau got that final assistant’s spot on Boston coach Claude Julien’s Eastern Conference staff instead of Boudreau by virtue of a higher winning percentage - .683 to .662.
Alexander Semin was a bright spot for Washington on Saturday with two goals, finding the back of the net for the first time in seven games. The fourth-year winger, who recently missed time with a back injury, had scored 14 goals through his first 18 games of the season.
Edmonton, meanwhile, has scored two goals or fewer in three straight games, but beat St. Louis 2-1 on Sunday night for its only win in that span.
The Oilers responded after a players-only meeting to address team emotion following a 4-1 loss to San Jose on Friday night.
“It’s always great to see the initial reaction after you have a talk like that,” veteran defenseman Steve Staios said. “We showed a lot more emotion and played a much better skating game.”
Sam Gagner had the winning goal and an assist. The 19-year-old center, the sixth pick in last year’s draft, had gone six straight games without scoring.
“It’s great for Sam,” Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. “He’s put a lot of pucks at the net and hasn’t had a lot of luck.”
Former University of Minnesota star Ryan Potulny added two assists in his first game for the Oilers.
Potulny was called up from Springfield of the AHL on Sunday to replace Zach Stortini, placed on injured reserve after suffering a lower-body injury Friday night in a fight with San Jose’s Brad Staubitz. Potulny led Springfield with 17 goals and 31 points in 36 games.
Oilers scoring leader Ales Hemsky has missed seven straight games because of post-concussion symptoms and is listed as day-to-day.