The Florida Panthers are in desperate need of scoring. So are the Washington Capitals, but they're fortunate enough to have Alexander Semin waiting in the wings.
With Semin expected to return, the Capitals' offense may get a boost as they try to snap a three-game losing streak in a matchup with the struggling Panthers on Monday night.
Semin, who has played in only four games after scoring 38 goals in 2006-07, could return to the ice for a Washington team that is tied for 26th in the NHL with 43 goals. The third-year winger hasn't played since injuring his right ankle against St. Louis on Oct. 27.
He had no goals and one assist in four games before getting hurt, but he is expected to take some of the scoring burden off the shoulders of Alexander Ovechkin.
The Capitals (6-12-1) have lost three straight - scoring two goals or less in each of those games - and are in danger of matching their longest losing streak of the season, set from Oct. 12-20. Washington, which has a league-worst 13 points, is 3-12-1 since winning its first three games.
"It's tough to come up with answers when you play so hard," Capitals captain Chris Clark said. "It's almost easier if guys collapse and not work hard because then you know exactly what you do. But our team, we work so hard and you just don't get rewarded for it."
Washington has been particularly bad with the man advantage, converting just 10.7 percent (3-for-28) of its chances in November. The Capitals did not take advantage of any of their four power-play opportunities in a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday night
Brooks Laich and Ovechkin scored the only goals for Washington. Ovechkin has scored a goal in four straight games, and has nine goals and 21 points in 17 career games against Florida (8-12-1).
This game pits the two worst teams in the Southeast Division, with Florida just four points ahead of Washington. The Panthers have dropped six of their last eight games (2-5-1), scoring two goals or fewer in six of those contests.
Florida lost 2-1 at Carolina on Saturday night to fall to 2-8-1 on the road, where it has been outscored 33-20 this season.
"We did play pretty hard, but you don't get any points for that," Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun said.
Vokoun stopped 26 shots in a 2-1 win over the Capitals on Thursday night in the teams' first meeting of the season, improving to 3-3-0 with a 1.68 goals-against average in six career games versus Washington.
Florida may be without rookie defenseman Cory Murphy (bruised shoulder) for the third straight game. He did not practice Saturday, and is questionable for Monday's contest.
Murphy has one goal and is third on the Panthers with 10 assists.