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At the Rink blog

Capitals' Ovechkin stuck in even-strength drought

Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 12:58 PM

By Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Capitals' Ovechkin stuck in even-strength drought

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Goal-scoring droughts of any kind are unfamiliar to Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin.

The 28-year-old remains comfortably atop the NHL goal-scoring leaderboard with 46, but it has been a while since he padded that total 5-on-5.

Since returning from the 2014 Sochi Olympics Ovechkin has scored one even-strength goal: The game-winner in Washington's 5-4 victory against the Florida Panthers on Feb. 27.

Ovechkin has gone the past 12 games without a goal at even strength. If he does not score one against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, he will match his career-long drought of 13 set during his rookie season of 2005-06, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

In the midst of an uncharacteristic stretch, Ovechkin is attempting to reconcile not producing offensively with playing well.

"That's what I try to do right now," Ovechkin said. "Situations like this, of course you think about the goals, but the most important thing you think about [is] to win the games. If I'm not scoring I just have to do some different things."

For the past three games Ovechkin has been skating alongside center Jay Beagle, an industrious and more defensive-oriented forward. Playing with Beagle has forced Ovechkin to take a more straightforward approach, but that has not translated into any offensive production. In 67:10 of ice time at even strength with Beagle, Ovechkin has 10 shots on goal, according to the website Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com.

Ovechkin will be the first to admit he "loves to score goals," but even when he is not, his presence on the ice alone benefits the Capitals.

"When we played [the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 16], and first period you could almost say that [Ovechkin] won us the game because they stood beside him because they gave us two power-play goals," Capitals coach Adam Oates said.

"He's got to realize that more and more this time of year goals are getting harder to come by. Just keep playing well. That's all I ever really ask of him."

Which Kings goaltender Ovechkin and the Capitals will attempt to score on will be a game-time decision.

Jonathan Quick made 30 saves in Los Angeles' 3-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday. In the second of back-to-back games Martin Jones may make his first start since March 15.

Here are the projected lineups for the Kings and Capitals:

KINGS

Marian Gaborik - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams

Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli

Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Dustin Brown

Kyle Clifford - Mike Richards - Trevor Lewis

Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty

Robyn Regehr - Slava Voynov

Willie Mitchell - Alec Martinez

Martin Jones

Jonathan Quick

Scratched: Jordan Nolan, Matt Greene

CAPITALS

Marcus Johansson - Jay Beagle - Alex Ovechkin

Evgeny Kuznetsov - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera - Eric Fehr - Joel Ward

Dustin Penner - Chris Brown - Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner - John Carlson

Jack Hillen - Mike Green

Dmitry Orlov - Patrick Wey

Jaroslav Halak

Braden Holtby

Scratched: John Erskine, Connor Carrick

Injured: Brooks Laich (groin), Mikhail Grabovski (ankle), Aaron Volpatti (shoulder)

Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff