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Capitals' Ovechkin a game-time decision vs. Senators

by Adam Vingan

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals, currently mired in their longest winless streak of the season, might have to find a way to snap out of it without Alex Ovechkin.

The NHL's leading goal scorer will be a game-time decision with a lower-body injury against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

According to coach Adam Oates, Ovechkin "got a little banged up" during the Capitals' 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday, their fifth straight game without a win (0-3-2). They have four wins in their past 16 games (4-7-5).

If Ovechkin does not play, it will be his third game missed due to injury this season; Washington won both games he sat out of with a right shoulder injury in early November.

Ovechkin's potential absence comes at a time when Washington is struggling to score goals; the Capitals' offense has stalled during their recent skid, totaling one goal in four of the five games and seven in all, three of which have been scored by Ovechkin.

Without their captain in the lineup to rely on, the rest of the Capitals would need to find their scoring touches if they are to break out of the slump that has dropped them into fifth place in the Metropolitan Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference.

"It's pretty obvious, I think," forward Marcus Johansson said. "We have to do it. I mean, we have to do it to win games. You need to score goals. You can't have one guy do it or two guys do it. Everyone has to contribute and we have to find a way to do it."

The Senators will be missing two players Tuesday. Marc Methot left practice early Monday with an undisclosed injury and will not play Tuesday. "We are going to err on the side of caution," coach Paul MacLean said.

In addition right wing Mark Stone will miss about two weeks due to an undisclosed injury.

Below are the projected lineups for the Senators and Capitals:


Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan

Zack Smith - Jason Spezza - Erik Condra

Matt Kassian - Mika Zibanejad - Milan Michalek

Colin Greening - Stephane Da Costa - Chris Neil

Jared Cowen - Erik Karlsson

Patrick Wiercioch - Eric Gryba

Chris Phillips - Cody Ceci

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Cory Conacher, Joe Corvo

Injured: Mark Stone (undisclosed), Marc Methot (undisclosed)


Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera - Mikhail Grabovski - Eric Fehr

Martin Erat - Brooks Laich - Joel Ward

Aaron Volpatti - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner - John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov - Mike Green

John Erskine - Connor Carrick

Braden Holtby

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Nate Schmidt

Injured: Alex Ovechkin (lower body), Jack Hillen (fractured tibial plateau)

Notes: The Capitals recalled defenseman Nate Schmidt, who appeared in 28 games for the team earlier this season, from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.

Defenseman Steve Oleksy cleared waivers and will report to the Bears.

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