WASHINGTON (AP) — Justin Williams and Tom Wilson scored as the Washington Capitals beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Friday night to tie the franchise record with their 13th consecutive home victory.
Williams’ game-winner in the third period was his 19th of the season. Washington’s streak of home games with five-plus goals ended at 11, but Braden Holtby made 30 saves to pad the team’s lead atop the NHL.
Evgeny Kuznetsov didn’t have a point but was arguably the Capitals’ best player against Edmonton. They have now outscored opponents 64-20 during their home winning streak.
Leon Draisaitl scored his team-leading 23rd goal of the season for Edmonton, which got 24 saves from goaltender Cam Talbot.
The Capitals had their most patchwork lineup of the season with injured regulars Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and T.J. Oshie out along with Andre Burakovsky, who’s expected to be back in mid-to-late March. Washington is the league’s healthiest team this season with only 27 man games lost to injury, but four players out at one time meant the NHL debut of rookie forward Riley Barber and season debut of defenseman Aaron Ness.
Oshie’s absence, his 10th missed game this season because of an upper-body injury, pushed Brett Connolly on to the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. But it was the fourth line that jumpstarted the offense with Wilson’s fifth goal of the season through traffic 12:22 into the first period.
A misplay by the Capitals’ second line led to Draisaitl’s goal 35 seconds into the second when the puck pinballed to the big German wide open in front. Connor McDavid added to his league-leading point total of 69 with the secondary assist.
Williams, a pending unrestricted free agent, beat Talbot clean on a one-timer for the game winner 5:48 into the third. The Capitals dominated much of the final period and held on in the final minutes when Talbot was off for an extra attacker.
NOTES: The Capitals improved to 35-4-4 when scoring first. All-time leading scorer Wayne Gretzky was in attendance. Gretzky is vice chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group. … Edmonton D Darnell Nurse skated Friday morning but missed his 37th consecutive game with a lower-body injury. F Benoit Pouliot also skated but missed his sixth consecutive game with an undisclosed injury. … Barber’s debut came against the team that drafted his father, Don, in 1983.
Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SWhyno .
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