The Washington Capitals suffered a third consecutive loss on Tuesday, getting shut out by the Carolina Hurricanes. On the heels of a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday and an embarrassing 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday, the loss to the Hurricanes has the Capitals ahead of only the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings.
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin had one of his worst outings of the season on Sunday and was directly responsible for three of the Rangers’ goals. He only registered three shots against the Hurricanes and was minus-1; he is now scoreless in three straight games. After a three-game winning streak to start the month that saw the team score 14 goals, the Capitals have now scored only three in their last three outings. Five of the last seven games have seen the team unable to convert on the power play, while the penalty kill has struggled as well.
Things don’t get any easier for the Capitals the rest of the week either. They have to play the Hurricanes again Thursday night before traveling to face the Boston Bruins on Saturday. With their hopes of making the playoffs dwindling with each game, the Capitals need to start getting bigger contributions from Ovechkin, Mike Ribeiro and Nicklas Backstrom immediately. Goaltender Braden Holtby seems to be lacking the confidence he had just a few weeks ago, which could lead to Michal Neuvirth getting a few starts in the coming weeks. If the Capitals aren’t scoring goals, it doesn’t seem like it will matter much who’s in net as the team has little chance of winning.