There was no avoiding the fact Friday after practice that the Capitals need to rediscover their consistent scoring touch. Washington is 4-7 in its past 11 games, which feature two losing streaks bookending four consecutive wins, and when the Capitals have struggled it's coincided with a lack of goals on the scoreboard.
During the last seven losses, Washington has been outscored 10-28, shut out three times and been held to one goal twice.
After the 3-0 loss to Florida on Thursday, Coach Bruce Boudreau cited the inability of Washington's main offensive threats to get on the board recently, but it's also a teamwide scoring drought and all the players are feeling culpable for the lack of goals.
"It's not all Ovi, Semin, Brooks and those guys who are counted to score goals; [secondary scorers have] got to score goals, too, and we're not doing the job either," said Jason Chimera, who hasn't recorded a point in nine games. "For whatever reason, we're squeezing our sticks a little tighter. [It] seems like when they don't score goals, we squeeze our sticks but it should be the opposite. We should score goals for them and help them out, we're not doing our job either."
Alex Ovechkin said the team's top players have a responsibility to make more of an impact.
"Especially on power play," Ovechkin said. "We have this opportunity to play on power play almost whole two minutes and we didn't use it [against Florida]. It starts with me, Backie, Greenie, Brooksie, Knubs, Sasha; it's everybody. It's not about one guy; everybody have to play better, especially on the power play."
The reasons offered for the drought came in many forms: a lack of secondary chances, a lack of energy, not enough driving to the net in search of ugly goals, and so on. It's hard to argue that the Capitals couldn't benefit from more offensive possessions, like the one that yielded the Panthers' first goal last night -- with three players crashing the net, drawing more chaos with opposing defenders brought into the mix as well and firing rebounds until one reached the intended target.
"There's only one way to score more goals, and that's work harder," Boudreau said. "Go to the dirty areas, get in front of the net and when you find you've scored goals is when you're bruised and after a game; you've got ice packs on because you've done those things. After a game [when] you just undress and just go home and you've got no bumps and bruises, then you know you haven't really been involved in the game. That's been my history of whether it's coaching or playing."
I'll have more on the Caps' goal-scoring troubles for tomorrow's paper.