The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

For Capitals, secondary scoring is a primary concern

Capitals forward Brooks Laich has scored once in his past 33 games. (Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
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With Alex Ovechkin three goals shy of his sixth career 50-goal campaign and the Capitals preparing for the final nine games of the regular season, the consensus around the team is that more secondary scoring is needed.

“If we’re going to have success, that’s going to be huge for us,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We can’t rely on [Ovechkin] or [Nicklas] Backstrom or the power play to produce all the offense. … Our five-on-five game needs to get better.”

Among those looking to score with more consistency are veterans Troy Brouwer (no goals in 11 straight games), Jason Chimera (no goals in 18 straight games) and Brooks Laich (one goal in his past 33 games).

“Last game [the Capitals’ 3-0 loss in Winnipeg], I felt that I had three grade A chances to score but none of them went in,” Laich said. “Chances are great. Getting chances means that you’re playing well, but now you want the results.”

With four off days between games — the Capitals host the New Jersey Devils tonight — Trotz has tweaked Washington’s forward lines at practice this week in hopes of “catching lightning in a bottle.”

Over the past six games, the Capitals have been outscored 9-4 at five-on-five, with Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov the only forwards to score at even strength.

“Ovi has been doing real well scoring goals for us,” Brouwer said, “but our secondary scoring has tailed off a bit recently, so now with this break, as we really bear down for the playoff push, it is something that we’re addressing.”

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