Series (Game 2 of 6)

Washington leads 5-1

Game 1: Wednesday, October 27th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 24th
Game 3: Sunday, November 28th
Game 4: Sunday, December 26th
Game 5: Friday, March 11th
Game 6: Tuesday, March 29th

Capitals 3

(15-6-2, 32 pts)

Hurricanes 2

(9-10-2, 20 pts)

7:00 PM ET, November 24, 2010

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

1 2 3 T
WSH 1 1 13
CAR 0 0 22

N. Backstrom (Capitals - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

S. Varlamov (Capitals - G): Saves: 30, Save Pct.: .938

A. Ovechkin (Capitals - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

Capitals-Hurricanes Preview


Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals suddenly find themselves in an unfamiliar position.

Ovechkin again tries to shake his road struggles and the Capitals look to avoid losing four straight for the first time in just over a year when they face the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.

Washington (14-6-2) went 8-0-1 from Oct. 30-Nov. 17 but has picked up one point in its last three games. The manner in which the Capitals lost two of those games has been a bit disturbing.

While Washington suffered a 5-4 shootout home loss to Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia on Saturday, the other two defeats came by identical 5-0 scores on the road to New Jersey and Atlanta, two struggling teams.

"I'm hoping it's an anomaly," coach Bruce Boudreau said a day after Monday's loss to the Devils. "You don't like to say every team goes through it because that puts you in an excuse mode. It's something that's new to us."

Washington, which hasn't dropped four in a row since Oct. 6-12, 2009, now faces another struggling team in Carolina (9-9-2), which has lost four of five.

"It's kind of a gut check for us," Capitals defenseman John Erskine said.

One of the biggest reasons for Washington's sudden troubles has been the lack of production from Ovechkin, who has one assist in his last four games. The two-time league MVP is having his most problems away from the Verizon Center, scoring in two of 10 games.

A matchup with the Hurricanes might not be what Ovechkin needs to regain his scoring touch. He has gone seven straight games against Carolina without a goal, his longest active stretch versus any team.

Washington didn't need any offense from Ovechkin against the Hurricanes at the RBC Center on Oct. 27, as Nicklas Backstrom scored twice and Michal Neuvirth stopped 29 shots in a 3-0 win.

Neuvirth, who has started all but five games, didn't play Monday after making 31 saves against the Flyers.

Cam Ward stopped 30 of 32 shots versus the Capitals last month in losing for the second time in nine games against them since 2006-07. He has a 1.55 goals-against average and two shutouts in that span.

Ward made 26 saves in Saturday's 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville, Carolina's second straight shootout defeat.

"We did the best we could with what we had in the tank," coach Paul Maurice said. "There was a lot of ugliness in the game -- plays that couldn't be completed -- there was no ease to it, but I thought we accepted it and fought it."

Carolina, which hasn't lost three straight since Jan. 14-18, has been hit-or-miss on offense over the past two weeks, and the same is true for Ward.

The Hurricanes have combined for 18 goals in three of their last six games but four in the others. Ward has been in net five times during that stretch, allowing one goal in three games but four in each of the other two.