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At the Rink: Red Wings at Capitals

by Adam Vingan / NHL.com

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Scouring the game log of Alex Ovechkin's decade-long career, there have been few prolonged scoring droughts.

The Washington Capitals captain is without a goal or assist in his past four games, the fifth time in his 687-game career he has been held pointless for that long. If he fails to get one against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA, SN1), it will be the longest slump of his career, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Ovechkin has seven shots over that span, the second time he has had two or fewer shots in each of four consecutive games, according to JapersRink.com. That is uncharacteristic of the 29-year-old, who has led the NHL in shots eight times and has a career average of 5.05 shots per game

"It's hard to say for myself, but I just play as I can, play hard," Ovechkin said. "If I didn't score goals, I try to do different stuff."

Even without offensive production, Ovechkin has still driven puck possession; his Corsi percentage over the past four games is 61.39, according to war-on-ice.com.

"We just have to work to get a chance to score goals," said Ovechkin, who will be separated from longstanding linemate Nicklas Backstrom to start the game Wednesday. "If we do the right things in the neutral zone, defensive zone, we're going to have opportunities to create chance in the offensive zone as well."

To that end, coach Barry Trotz, who has praised Ovechkin's commitment to rounding out his game throughout the season, has not seen the superstar pressing in search of goals.

"He's playing the right way," Trotz said. "You see him blocking shots, defensively he's way better in his commitment level there. On the forecheck, he's using the body, separating people.

"[Ovechkin] hasn't scored in the past four games, but he's had good looks. He's trying to be maybe a little too fine with his shot. That's a lot of our guys in the last couple games. They're down the pipe. Those will go in. We keep getting looks, they'll go in."

Trotz will face a familiar adversary in the Red Wings, a former Central Division rival during his 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators. Since Mike Babcock began coaching Detroit in 2005-06, Trotz has opposed him 54 times in the regular season.

"They've always had really good leadership," Trotz said of the Red Wings consistency. "They've had great ownership and a system in place. It's just the Detroit culture. They've always been patient with their young guys. … You want to create a culture. It takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. They've had 20-some years at it."

Here are the projected lineups:

RED WINGS

Justin Abdelkader - Henrik ZetterbergGustav Nyquist

Darren HelmPavel DatsyukTomas Tatar

Andrej NestrasilRiley SheahanTomas Jurco

Drew MillerLuke GlendeningJoakim Andersson

Niklas KronwallJonathan Ericsson

Kyle QuinceyDanny DeKeyser

Brendan SmithJakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Daniel Cleary, Brian Lashoff

Injured: Johan Franzen (groin)

CAPITALS

Alex OvechkinAndre BurakovskyJoel Ward

Marcus JohanssonNicklas BackstromTroy Brouwer

Jason ChimeraEvgeny KuznetsovJay Beagle

Liam O'BrienMichael LattaEric Fehr/Tom Wilson

Brooks OrpikJohn Carlson

Karl AlznerMatt Niskanen

Nate SchmidtMike Green

Braden Holtby

Justin Peters

Scratched: Eric Fehr/Tom Wilson, Jack Hillen

Injured: Brooks Laich (upper body), Aaron Volpatti (upper body), Dmitry Orlov (wrist), John Erskine (neck surgery)

Status report: Wilson, who hasn't played this season while recovering from offseason ankle surgery, is a game-time decision. If Wilson plays, then Fehr will be scratched, according to Trotz. "Need a little more from him," Trotz said of Fehr. "He's not that far off, but I know he can be better for us."… Laich will miss his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury.

Who's hot: Of Zetterberg's team-leading 10 points, nine have come within the past five games. … Green's seven even-strength points lead all NHL defensemen.

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