Washington (15-5-6) at Carolina (5-16-5)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Raleigh, NC
Temp: 67° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Mon Nov 30, 2009
  • TV: CSMA, FSCR
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Despite outstanding production from Alex Ovechkin(notes), the Washington Capitals have struggled in their recent visits to the RBC Center.

That could change Monday night, given the Carolina Hurricanes’ recent play.

Ovechkin and the Capitals look to hand Carolina its fifth straight loss when the Southeast Division rivals meet for the first time this season.

Ovechkin has a nine-game overall point streak against the Hurricanes and recorded eight goals and eight assists in his last nine visits to Raleigh. The Capitals, though, went 2-7 in those nine games at the RBC Center, getting outscored 7-2 in dropping the last two contests there.

However, Washington (15-5-6) comes in looking for a third straight victory after beating Montreal 4-3 in a shootout Saturday.

Eric Fehr(notes) tied the game on a power play with 11.4 seconds remaining and Nicklas Backstrom(notes) scored the only goal of the shootout. Semyon Varlamov(notes) recorded 21 saves for his 10th win.

“We got two points on the road and you can’t be disappointed in that but at the same time we’ve got to be a little bit better and we’ve got to play a full 60 minutes, which we haven’t done in a while,” said Fehr, who scored twice.

Washington played beyond regulation for the third time in four games.

Ovechkin scored in the first period for his third goal in four games and 18th of the season. He has recorded a point in nine of his 10 road contests this season.

Washington will try to get a rare victory at the RBC Center as it continues a road-heavy stretch of schedule. The Capitals are in the midst of playing 13 of 17 games away from home, a stretch that began Nov. 14.

Washington earned at least a point in its last four road games and is 7-3-3 away from the Verizon Center this season.

Carolina’s losing streak reached four with a 5-1 loss to Buffalo on Saturday.

The Hurricanes (5-16-5) gave up five goals in the third period and fell to 0-10-3 on the road, a day after blowing a three-goal, third-period lead in a 6-4 defeat to Atlanta.

“It’s no fun here right now,” center Eric Staal(notes) said. “Obviously, we’re fragile. That’s two games in a row where the third period comes around and we lose both. That’s the sign of a team that isn’t feeling it.”

Already without starting goaltender Cam Ward(notes) (leg laceration), Carolina was further hurt defensively by the absence of Joni Pitkanen(notes), who sustained an upper-body injury against Atlanta. His status for Monday is uncertain.

The Hurricanes haven’t been able to count on either of their available goalies. Michael Leighton(notes) and Manny Legace(notes) were shaky in starting one game apiece during the weekend, with Leighton playing Saturday after Legace was in net Friday.

Legace, who has seen most of the action with Ward out, has gone 2-0-0 with a 1.77 goals-against average in three appearances against Washington. Leighton has posted a 1-1-0 record and 3.00 GAA in two starts versus the Capitals.

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Monday, Nov 30