Alex Ovechkin out of lineup for key Capitals game at Senators

Washington Capitals Coach Dale Hunter did the Kevin Bacon/"Animal House" routine on Tuesday regarding Alex Ovechkin: That he had an "equipment problem" in their loss to Carolina ("Remain Calm!") and was given a "maintenance day" off from practice ("All Is Well!").

Alas, it's more than that: Ovechkin will miss the Capitals' game at the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night, a critical Eastern Conference game with a team the Capitals trail by seven points with two games in-hand.

Hunter said Ovechkin had a lower-body injury and would be a game-time decision after the Washington captain unsuccessfully tested the ailment in the morning skate.

Via Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times, the aftermath for the Caps:

The lines will probably look a lot like they did during Tuesday afternoon's practice in Raleigh, N.C., with Jason Chimera in Ovechkin's usual spot on the top line, along with Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer.

The second line featured Mathieu Perreault centering Matt Hendricks and Alexander Semin; the third line Marcus Johansson between Mike Knuble and Joel Ward; and the fourth line Jeff Halpern with [Keith] Aucoin and Jay Beagle.

According to Whyno, the Capitals are 24-6-3 when Ovechkin scores at least a point this season.

Well, Mike Milbury, you got your wish: After challenging Ovechkin's captaincy on Monday during the NBC telecast, he also said "I hope for [Ovechkin's] sake he's a little dinged up." Turns out he was.