Posted November 16, 2011 on
AP on Fox
New York Jets
Struggling to score goals is a new feeling for Alex Ovechkin. At least he has some company among his Washington Capitals teammates.
Ovechkin will try to help the Capitals avoid their first three-game losing streak this season when they continue a three-game trip against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
Although Washington (10-5-1) ranks near the top of the league with 56 goals, its production has slowed during a 1-3-1 skid. The Caps have totaled 11 goals in those games, the most recent a 3-1 loss at Nashville on Tuesday.
Troy Brouwer opened the scoring with 4:46 left in the third period but the Predators answered 28 seconds later and came up with the winning goal in the final minute.
"It's hard to take because we worked so hard," said coach Bruce Boudreau, one win shy of his 200th. "I mean you get 40 shots in this building against a great defensive team, and 32 of them are in the last two periods, it's really tough. We'll have to regroup tomorrow and get ready for Winnipeg."
Ovechkin was held without a goal for the fifth time in seven games. His seven goals after 16 contests is his lowest total at that point since entering the league in 2005-06. He had nine in 2010-11 and 15 the previous year en route to his third straight 50-goal season.
Also struggling offensively is center Nicklas Backstrom, the team leader with 20 points but with no goals in five games. Alexander Semin - a 40-goal scorer in 2009-10 - has one in his past 11 contests and Mike Knuble one over the last 13 games.
"It's frustrating. The guys are as upset as I've seen," Knuble said after Tuesday's loss. "We really battled to get that lead and they tied it right away."
Also hampering Washington offensively is the absence of top defenseman Mike Green, who is day to day after a knee-to-knee collision in Friday's win over New Jersey. The Capitals are 8-0-0 this season with Green in the lineup.
Predictably, Washington's power play has struggled in Green's absence, going scoreless in 12 straight chances. All three of Green's goals have come on the power play.
Winnipeg (6-9-3) ended a five-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over visiting Tampa Bay on Sunday. Evander Kane, Tim Stapleton and Dustin Byfuglien each had a goal and an assist for the Jets, 0-3-2 during their longest skid of the season.
''It was the most complete game we've played,'' Kane said. ''We need to be able to model that and be consistent with that type of game.''
Five goals matched the second-highest total of the season for Winnipeg, which totaled 10 during the slide.
''We felt it was a good opportunity for us at home against a tough team to really get back on track and play the game that we need to play,'' captain Andrew Ladd said. ''I thought for the most part we did that tonight.''
Winnipeg has several players mired in goal droughts.
Leading scorer Nik Antropov and Kyle Wellwood have each gone seven games without a goal, while Alex Burmistrov has none in six contests.
The Jets went 4-1-1 against the Capitals last season as the Atlanta Thrashers, due in large part to their ability to keep Ovechkin and Backstrom in check. The two players combined for two goals - both by Ovechkin - and three assists in the season series.
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