WASHINGTON — During a season in which they’ve already gone through two coaches and won fewer games than any team in the league, the Edmonton Oilers entered the All-Star break with a victory to savour.
Teddy Purcell scored the decisive goal in a shootout after Edmonton rallied from a two-goal deficit late in regulation, and the Oilers defeated Washington 5-4 Tuesday night to end the Capitals’ seven-game home winning streak.
Purcell beat goaltender Braden Holtby in the fourth round of the shootout after Edmonton’s Viktor Fasth stopped Eric Fehr.
The victory was the 12th in 47 games for Edmonton and only the fourth on the road. After defeating Florida in a shootout on Saturday, the Oilers have a week to sit on their two-game winning streak.
“We can definitely take some positives from this,” coach Todd Nelson said. “It was a good character win. The guys stuck with it.”
The Capitals, on the other hand, enter the break mired in a three-game skid after blowing a late lead at home against a team that has endured losing streaks of seven and nine games.
“I said to the guys, ’Maybe we don’t make the playoffs,”’ coach Barry Trotz said. “There are some good teams out there.”
Washington has earned at least a point in 19 of its last 22 games. But that was of little consolation in a sombre locker room.
“It’s just disappointing,” defenceman Brooks Orpik said. “It’s the last-place team in the league, but it’s pretty obvious that any team can beat any team in this league if they’re fully committed.”
Alex Ovechkin scored twice in the opening 14 minutes for the Capitals, who held leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 before the Oilers made one final push during the final five minutes of regulation.
Purcell scored at 15:49 to make it 4-3, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tied it with a wrist shot at 18:53 after Fasth vacated the net for an extra skater.
Derek Roy and Nikita Nikitin also scored in regulation for Edmonton.
“There were a couple of times in the second (period) that I think we were thinking that there’s no chance we should even be in this game,” Purcell said. “We hung around and found a way.”
Ovechkin has five goals in his last three games and 27 for the season. It was his seventh multi-goal game of the season and 92nd of his career, one short of the franchise record held by Peter Bondra.
Ovechkin would have felt a lot better about that if his two strikes came in a winning effort.
“We had to forget about it and get ready for the most important time of the season,” he said.
Ovechkin put Washington up 1-0 at 1:48 of the first period, firing a slap shot over Fasth’s left shoulder during a delayed penalty.
Ovechkin scored again at 13:58 following an interference call on Edmonton’s Jeff Petry. The slap shot, fired from the left circle, smashed the goalie camera that hangs from the back of the net.
Held to one shot on goal over the first 14 minutes, the Oilers closed to 2-1 when Roy scored at 14:51.
Jay Beagle restored the two-goal cushion at 17:34 when he deflected a shot by John Carlson into the net. It was Beagle’s seventh goal of the season, a new career high.
Nikitin got a power-play goal at 19:56 of the second period, firing a lengthy slap shot just three seconds after Matt Niskanen was sent to the penalty box for kneeing Roy.
Nicklas Backstrom made it 4-2 at 6:38 of the third period, deflecting a shot by Carlson past Fasth.
The lead wouldn’t last.
“There’s a point we gave away,” Trotz said.