Washington forward Alex Ovechkin continues his pursuit of history when the Capitals visit the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
Ovechkin, who has not scored a goal in his past three games, remains one behind Gordie Howe (801 goals) on the NHL’s all-time list. Wayne Gretzky (894) remains in first.
Despite Ovechkin’s brief dry spell, the Capitals are rolling, having won seven of their past eight games after a 4-3 overtime victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.
Playing without a group of injured forwards that includes Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie among others, Washington continues to get secondary scoring.
Fourth-line center Nic Dowd had two goals and an assist Monday after missing the previous game with a lower-body injury, defenseman Erik Gustafsson scored his fourth goal in two games and defenseman Dmitry Orlov netted the overtime winner.
“Up and down the lineup, like I said, we had a lot of guys tonight that brought their A-game,” said goalie Charlie Lindgren, who made 16 saves in his eighth consecutive start in place of the injured Darcy Kuemper. “Just some really good stuff by a lot of guys and to see Dowder score a couple, it was great. He’s a guy that works extremely hard.”
Kuemper, who left a Dec. 3 game against the Calgary Flames after he was elbowed in the head by Tyler Toffoli, is back and will start either Thursday or Friday versus Winnipeg.
Oshie, who left a win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday with an upper-body injury, will miss the next two games.
Meanwhile, Ovechkin has gone four straight games without a goal only once so far this season. Capitals coach Peter Laviolette double-shifted Ovechkin at times versus Detroit.
“Sometimes you can just see him. He wants it. He looks at you. He has got it in his eyes,” Laviolette said afterwards. “He hit a post tonight, he had some looks in the third period. He is slinging it.”
Like Washington, Ottawa will be playing the first of back-to-back games, with both at home as they enter the holiday break after hosting Detroit on Friday.
The Senators look to snap a brief two-game losing streak following a 5-1 loss at the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
Drake Batherson scored, and Cam Talbot made 19 saves for the Senators, who are 8-4-1 in their past 13 games. Talbot had won his previous four starts.
The Senators fell into a quick 2-0 hole and trailed 3-1 after the first period.
“Right from the get-go just weren’t sharp,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. “No execution on breakouts, turnovers. The first (Jets) goal, just not hard enough, just lose battles and it’s in the back of the net. You get too far behind and the game’s over.”
Batherson has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) during a nine-game point streak.
Ottawa, which sits at the bottom of the Atlantic Division despite its strong December, put 36 shots on goal against the Jets but was not rewarded.
“They had some good goaltending. It’s on us, we have to turn the page and be ready for those last two games,” said Parker Kelly, who hit a post against the Jets. “We’ve got to regroup and win those last two games.”
Batherson had two goals when Ottawa beat visiting Washington 5-2 on Oct. 20.
–Field Level Media