ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin is in the midst of a career renaissance that began late last season. He has scored 43 goals in his past 45 games, including an NHL-leading 20 so far this season (the first time in his nine-year career he has been the first player to reach that total) and three in his past three games.
The problem, however, is that those three goals are the only goals the Capitals have scored over that span.
Entering Washington's game against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, Ovechkin has accounted for 29.8 percent of his team's goals (20 of 67). As a point of reference, the NHL single-season record is 29.5 percent set by Pavel Bure in 2000-01 as a member of the Florida Panthers.
The rest of the Capitals forwards are fully aware they must help their captain.
"I think our line has had numerous chances," left wing Jason Chimera said in regards to the third line, comprised of himself, Brooks Laich and Joel Ward. "We've just got to put them in. Me myself, I've had a lot of chances in the past five games and put nothing in. You've got to make them go in.
"There's no excuse for it, but you've got to help [Ovechkin]. Obviously we don't want him to be the only guy scoring goals, that's for sure. It's just a matter of bearing down when you get the chance."
The Capitals' scoring woes are not for a lack of trying. In their 2-1 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, the Capitals fired a season-high 50 shots on goal on a League-high 101 attempts, according to ExtraSkater.com.
"The weekend, [against the Montreal Canadiens], we had three breakaways," coach Adam Oates said. "You're not going to get better chances than three breakaways. I think you just go through cycles where you fight it a little bit and a little snake bit. Fifty shots in Toronto, 15 Grade-As from five feet from the very first shift to the very last shift.
"I don't think it's a concern. I'm sure those guys are mad because we all want to score. We've just got to keep doing the right things."
Here are the projected lineups for the Capitals and Senators:
Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr – Mikhail Grabovski – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Brooks Laich – Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti – Michael Latta – Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner – John Carlson
Alexander Urbom – Mike Green
Nate Schmidt – Tyson Strachan
Scratched: Jay Beagle, Martin Erat, Steve Oleksy
Injured: John Erskine (knee), Jack Hillen (fractured tibial plateau)
Notes: Laich did not participate in the morning skate, instead sitting out as a precautionary measure with what the team termed a lower-body injury. He is expected to play Wednesday.
"Just a little maintenance this morning," Oates said. "The games on the weekend he was pretty banged-up, played hard, a lot of minutes, practiced fine yesterday. [It is] just precautionary."
Milan Michalek – Jason Spezza - Mika Zibanejad
Clarke MacArthur – Kyle Turris – Bobby Ryan
Cory Conacher – Zack Smith – Chris Neil
Colin Greening – Derek Grant – Erik Condra
Marc Methot – Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Joe Corvo
Jared Cowen – Patrick Wiercioch
Scratched: Matt Kassian, Eric Gryba, Mark Borowiecki