With the Washington Capitals' struggles on the power play, many fans at the Verizon Center already are starting to turn on the home team.
The Capitals hope to quiet the jeers of the home crowd and begin fixing their woes with the man advantage in a matchup with the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.
Some home fans booed the Capitals (1-1-2) after they failed to score on a two-man advantage during a 4-3 overtime loss to Atlanta on Saturday. Washington finished the game 1-for-9 on the power play, and was ranked 21st in the league in that category through Tuesday's games at 12.5 percent (4-for-32).
"We don't really have an identity as a power play," defenseman Brian Pothier said. "One power play we get shots from the point, another power play we're cycling down low and trying to play one-on-one hockey and not really being productive.
"I think we have to discover what is going to be successful for us, and I'm hoping that we realize that pretty quick."
Despite the offseason additions of wingers Richard Zednik and Alexander Semin, Washington has not shown its power-play unit to be much better than the one that finished last in the Eastern Conference last season (14.7 percent).
Semin does have two of the team's four power-play goals, but Zednik has yet to register a point this season and has a team-worst minus-4 rating.
"The power play is a thing where you obviously have to work hard, but you've got to recognize and not force things," right wing Dainius Zubrus said.
Washington has a chance to improve in that area against a Panthers team which has been short-handed 43 times this season, tied for the league lead through Monday.
Florida (3-2-1), which has allowed six power-play goals overall, has gone winless in three road games while scoring just twice in 13 chances with the man advantage.
The Panthers were 1-for-6 on the power play in both games of a home-and-home series with Tampa Bay over the weekend, winning 3-2 on Friday before losing 4-1 on Saturday.
"We didn't get enough shots and we didn't do little things right," said center Olli Jokinen, whose Panthers have been outscored 12-2 away from home.
Goaltender Ed Belfour made 32 saves on Saturday while losing for the second time in as many starts this season. He's likely to be back on the bench Wednesday as the backup to Alex Auld, who has yet to lose in regulation (3-0-1) and is among the league leaders with a .935 save percentage.
This is the first meeting of the season between these Southeast Division foes. Florida was 7-0-1 against the Capitals in 2005-06, winning all four meetings at the Verizon Center. The Panthers are unbeaten in seven visits to Washington since April 1, 2003.
|Apr 03 '07||FLA 0 at WSH 1||A. Ovechkin|
|Mar 30 '07||WSH 2 at FLA 3 - OT||M. Gelinas|
|Feb 27 '07||FLA 6 at WSH 5 - SO||J. Stumpel|
|Feb 01 '07||WSH 3 at FLA 6||J. Stumpel|
|Jan 20 '07||FLA 4 at WSH 1||J. Stumpel|
|Jan 13 '07||WSH 3 at FLA 7||R. Olesz|
|Nov 13 '06||WSH 4 at FLA 1||A. Ovechkin|
|Oct 18 '06||FLA 2 at WSH 5||J. Heward|