"We had a good challenge against Vancouver Friday night and this is another big game," Backstrom told NHL.com Tuesday morning. "We're playing a great team tonight and we have to be on top of our game to get two points."
He's right, but it's safe to say that the Capitals can't be on the top of their game until Ovechkin and Backstrom start scoring.
Ovechkin has 5 goals in the last 20 games and a pedestrian (by his standards) 15 in 46 games this season. Backstrom has been even quieter with no goals in the last 20 games and just 11 in the same 46 games this season.
The Capitals are 7-8-5 and averaging just two goals per game since Backstrom last scored. They're 10-2-1 this season when Ovechkin scores at least one, but have won only 15 of 33 games when he gets shut out.
"When you're a scorer and you don't score, you can have the persona outside the rink that everything is great but it eats at you because this is what you've been doing your whole life," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "They're true professionals and they're working real hard to get out of it and everything, but I would think that it bothers them."
Ovechkin admitted it does. He said it's even more frustrating when you work for scoring chances and they don't go in.
"When you score almost 50 goals every year and you're struggling to score goals, of course you're going to think what's happening to you, why don't you score?" he said. "I want to score, I want to play like I always play. Right now maybe I need some kind of moment."
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"I know where the guys are going and they know where I'm going, so it makes it fun because we can just play on instincts and enjoy hockey," Leino told NHL.com. "Nobody is trying to do somebody else's job. We all think the same way about hockey, but we have different roles and we play different ways. It's easier that way."
Ovechkin and Backstrom long for the days when scoring didn't seem like the world's greatest challenge.
It won't be easy Tuesday, but if either can create that "moment" the entire team might come out of its offensive shell.
"It's been working before; it's just a matter of time that it'll bounce in," Backstrom said. "Who knows, maybe tonight?"
It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun..
— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday