Cole's hat trick helps Oilers beat Caps on road for first time since '97

WASHINGTON -- Dwayne Roloson's saves and Steve MacIntyre's first career goal provided an early lift. Then, Erik Cole took command.

Cole scored three goals, Gilbert Brule added a goal and an assist, and the Edmonton Oilers beat Washington 5-2 Tuesday night, handing the Capitals their third consecutive loss.

Roloson made 34 saves and MacIntyre got his first NHL goal for the Oilers, who won their second straight game. It was Edmonton's first victory on the road against the Capitals since Jan. 26, 1997 at USAirways Arena in Landover, Md.

"Once Mac scored, I knew it was one of those rare games where you could get away with a few things," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "Rollie was super-sharp early when he needed to be. We mismanaged the puck early -- a little rattled, I think, by the threat and the skill."

But the Capitals never flexed their offensive muscle, despite outshooting Edmonton 36-23.

Mike Green had a goal and an assist and Tomas Fleischmann also scored for Washington, which lost a second straight home game for the first time this season and is now 18-3-1 at Verizon Center. The three straight losses match a season high.

Cole, who played frequently in Washington during six seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes before an offseason trade to the Oilers, knows how important good goaltending can be early against the Capitals' fearsome offense.

"Rollie really held us in there in the first period until we seemed to get our bearings. And it was a great goal by Mac, a big goal. It really lifts our spirits," Cole said. "We went out in the second period with more conviction and I think we controlled the play the way we wanted to."

The Capitals squandered a 19-9 edge in shots in the opening period, as MacIntyre and Cole tallied 1:11 apart for a 2-0 Edmonton lead.

MacIntyre one-timed a short pass from center point at 12:59 and, with the Capitals' Alexander Semin off for hooking, Cole poked in the rebound of Sheldon Souray's long drive for his ninth goal.

"I closed my eyes, shot the puck and fortunately it went in," MacIntyre said. "You grow up dreaming about playing in the NHL and you go out there [and score] against some pretty good players. It feels pretty good."

Mactavish sensed MacIntyre had delivered the pick-me-up the Oilers desperately needed.

"I've seen a lot of things happen in games, but this is," MacTavish said, his voice trailing off as he shook his head in disbelief. "Their skill guys had four or five point-blank opportunities and then Mac buries his first. I figured it was going to be a good night. Everybody was energized by that."

In the first period, the Capitals struggled.

"When it gets to the point where everyone wants to be the scorer and nobody wants to be the mucker, you are not going to do anything," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Everybody's waiting and when you put a skilled lineup together, ... everybody needs to do the grunt job. Until we get that happening, we're not going to score a lot of goals."

Brule made it 3-0 2:15 into the second period, splitting two defensemen between the circles and knocking a right-wing feed from Kyle Brodziak past Jose Theodore.

The Capitals finally got on the board thanks to a strong effort by Fleischmann, who netted his career-high 14th goal. Fleischmann wove through four defenders in the Oilers zone before flicking the puck over Roloson at 7:40.

Cole restored the three-goal cushion with 16:41 left, tipping Brodzniak's sweeping a low shot past Theodore's left leg from the slot.

A boarding call against Brule set up Green's power-play goal with 3:09 remaining.

Theodore was pulled with 2:16 to go, and Cole capped his fifth career hat trick with an empty-net goal with 58 seconds left.

Game notes
Cole's last hat trick came against Washington for Carolina on Nov. 9, 2006. ... John Erskine returned to the Caps' lineup after missing 22 games with a concussion. ... The Oilers had lost six straight in Washington. ... The Capitals scratched C Boyd Gordon (back spasms). ... About 150 Canadian military members and their families attended the game. ... Green's assist on Fleischmann's goal was his 100th NHL point. ... Capitals rookie D Karl Alzner, playing in his 22nd career game, finally drew his first penalty, a minor for delay of the game in the second period.