Facing the possibility of playing a second straight game without Alex Ovechkin and with their No. 1 goaltender struggling, a visit from the Montreal Canadiens may be just what the Washington Capitals need.
The slumping Caps try to shut out the Canadiens for a fourth straight time Friday night at the Verizon Center.
Washington (29-26-5) has gone 3-7-2 in its last 12 and is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. The Capitals stumbled home after dropping the last three games on their four-game road trip, capping the stretch with a 5-2 loss to Ottawa on Wednesday.
Ovechkin missed the game with a lower-body injury and his status for Friday is uncertain.
The absence of its leading scorer forced Washington to play without its top two offensive producers, as Nicklas Backstrom is still out due to a concussion. The Capitals got off to yet another slow start, falling behind 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes, and they've been outscored 9-0 in the first period of the last six games.