Posted March 05, 2012 on
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The Washington Capitals need to snap out of a scoring slump if they want to win a fifth consecutive Southeast Division title. Breaking a lengthy scoreless stretch against the Carolina Hurricanes would be a step in that direction.
Washington looks to avoid getting shut out for a team-record third consecutive time Tuesday night when it hosts the Hurricanes, who have blanked the Capitals in the last two matchups.
While Washington (32-28-5) is just outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture and five points behind first-place Florida in the division race, it has picked a bad time to stop scoring.
Washington, outscored 6-0 while losing two straight, was last shut out in back-to-back home games March 13-15, 2001, by Anaheim and Carolina.
Despite outshooting Philadelphia 34-23 on Sunday, the Capitals fell 1-0 in the third game of a five-game homestand.
"You can't be frustrated. You've just got to go 'the goalie was hot' and just keep getting pucks to the net," coach Dale Hunter said.
The Capitals have not done much of that lately against Carolina, getting outshot 73-40 in the last two meetings.
After snapping the Caps' 12-game point streak in the series with a 3-0 home win Jan. 20, the Hurricanes (24-27-14) routed Washington 5-0 in Raleigh on Feb. 20. The Capitals, though, have gone 4-0-1 in the last five matchups at the Verizon Center. Each of their last eight home wins over Carolina have come by one goal.
The Hurricanes, 14th in the East with 62 points, have gone 1-1-3 since the most recent win over the Caps. They lost 4-3 in overtime to Tampa Bay on Saturday.
"Our guys are competing and playing at a high level," said coach Kirk Muller, whose club opens a season-high five-game trip. "I'm really happy with the performance."
Muller couldn't be any happier with the play of Eric Staal, who has seven goals and 13 assists during an 11-game point streak. With a point Tuesday, Staal will have the club's longest run since it relocated from Hartford in 1997.
The captain has four goals and a team-high eight points versus Washington this season.
The Capitals need their captain to start producing. Alex Ovechkin has three goals in the last 10 games and his turnover Sunday led to the lone tally.
Washington hasn't scored since Ovechkin's OT goal Feb. 28. The star forward, a combined plus-69 the past two seasons, is minus-9 in 2011-12.
"It's just a period of time when you try hard but you can't win the game," Ovechkin said following Monday's practice. "Again, it's not over yet, and we're going to fight through and we're going to win some games."
Cam Ward will likely be in net to try and prevent that from happening Tuesday. Ward lost his first two starts against Washington this season before recording his 18th career shutout Jan. 20 with 23 saves.
Ward missed the Feb. 20 matchup with a lower-body injury, but Justin Peters stepped in and turned aside 17 shots for his first NHL shutout.
The Capitals' last goal versus Carolina came off the stick of Dmitry Orlov 1:12 into the third period of a 2-1 home victory Jan. 15. Orlov's winning score was his first career goal.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
As fire and brimstone have engulfed the Washington Capitals dreams of postseason play and the boobirds have invaded Verizon Center like it's Bodega Bay, many have begun questioning everything that isn't working. Why can't they score? Is Hunter the coach for this team? Did McPhee's non-action at the trade deadline kill this team? Of all the questions, one in particular...
from Capitals Insider at the Washington Post, Post columnist Thomas Boswell was asked during today’s lengthy live Q&A what he thinks of Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin’s apparent “‘Good 8’ holding pattern,” as one reader put it — no longer great, not developing or adjusting.
His answer follows, and you can read the rest of the chat here.
I assume the Great Eight...
from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington, Calling it a “benching” or “matching lines” is getting caught up in semantics.
Fact is, Capitals coach Dale Hunter sent Alex Ovechkin over the boards just once in a 12-minute span after his offensive zone giveaway led to the Flyers’ only goal in a 1-0 loss Sunday night.
It should be pointed out that Ovechkin’s linemates, Marcus Johansson...
"There is no silver lining in losing a hockey game at this time of year."
Such was the attitude of Matt Hendricks in the locker room following another demoralizing loss for the Washington Capitals, this time at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday inside Verizon Center.
The Capitals were shut out for the second consecutive home game on Sunday...
MINI-PREVIEW 10 AM EST
Looking for their first back-to-back victories since January, the Flyers (35-21-7) head to the District of Columbia tonight to take on the enigmatic Washington Capitals ( 32-27-5). The game starts at 7 p.m. EST and will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.
This is the third of four meetings between the teams this season, and the second and final...
The big names are still there, the big time talent is still there so why are Washington Capitals out of the playoff picture and fading fast as March begins?You don't have to know hockey to know what is happening with the Caps because the Caps don't have a hockey problem as much as they have a leadership and identity problem. Inconsistency of that magnitude usually begins...
The Washington Capitals were on ice Monday for a practice following another depressing loss Sunday evening against the Flyers. Some updates from Kettler Capitals Iceplex:
Tomas Vokoun returned to the ice after missing the last two practices and one game (sitting on the bench, at least) because of a lower-body injury. He skated for about 20 minutes in full pads before practice...
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Alex Ovechkin has been playing the role of Harry Houdini in recent days. While the Sabres have been surging towards the eighth and final playoff spot, the Caps have been falling flat on the faces.
Great news for Sabres fans. Buffalo are 11-3-3 in the last 16 games and are playing exceptionally well right now. The news isn't so cheery for the Capitals....
You almost knew that it was coming.
For 24 minutes and 51 seconds on Tuesday night, the Washington Capitals were playing like a team that needed to win a hockey game. They were being aggressive in their forecheck, finishing hits, and had gotten two goals from two grinders. It was shaping up to be a promising evening.
And then just like that, it was gone.
The Capitals allowed...
“But we’ve still got 18 games. There’s a lot of hockey left. Sometimes you’re gonna lose hockey games. That’s the way it goes. So we’ve got to rebound.”
That’s what Brooks Laich told media members after the Capitals’ 5-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Friday.
But, while the Capitals gave up four fewer goals against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday—the team...
The Flyers announced that Ilya Bryzgalov will start tonight against the Washington Capitals. A preview of tonight's matchup is here.
The Hurricanes are a team in transition in several ways. That includes the lineup.
"We're not a team right now that has 12 guys in place," coach Kirk Muller said, explaining regular changes to line combinations. "You have to earn your ice time."
The Hurricanes had more of their primary players in place than at any time in the past month for Tuesday night...
Justin Faulk scored the game-winner at 3:38 of overtime, Cam Ward stopped 46 shots, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the skidding Washington Capitals 4-3 Tuesday night.
Faulk took a centering pass from Brandon Sutter and fired the puck past goaltender Michal Neuvirth to saddle Washington with its third successive defeat, although the Capitals did get a point by forcing overtime...