Capitals-Kings Preview

The Associated Press

The Washington Capitals know their offense goes as Alex Ovechkin does. The Los Angeles Kings still can't find a consistent source of production.

The Capitals wrap up a two-game California trip Monday night at Staples Center, where the Kings try once more to solve their goal-scoring woes.

Ovechkin and the Capitals (21-16-2) are still four points out of first place in the Southeast Division, but finally appeared to have found a groove under Dale Hunter, who replaced the fired Bruce Boudreau on Nov. 28.

Washington had won four straight games - getting two points from Ovechkin in each - before Saturday's 5-2 loss at San Jose, where the captain's seven-game point streak came to an end.

The star right wing also took a key penalty in the third period, a roughing call that led to a 4-on-4 situation during which the Sharks scored to take a two-goal lead with 11:09 left.

"He fell. I fell. It looked like I dropped him," Ovechkin said. "I think it was a clean hit but maybe he took a couple of extra steps. I'm just trying to look out for a teammate."

It probably didn't help that he was without a linemate Saturday, with Nicklas Backstrom out after taking an elbow to the head from Calgary's Rene Bourque on Tuesday. The status of Backstrom, Washington's leader with 42 points, is unclear.

The Capitals have lost their last 12 games (0-11-1) when Ovechkin failed to register a point. He has two goals and four assists in six lifetime games versus Los Angeles, but Washington is 2-4-0 in those contests.

The Kings (20-15-7) failed to get at least one point Saturday for the first time in nine games (5-1-3) since Darryl Sutter replaced Terry Murray, but their inability to score was nothing new in a 1-0 defeat to Columbus.

Los Angeles, which has been shut out five times, has a league-low 88 goals and been held to two or fewer in regulation in 19 of 21 games.

"We're pressing. You could tell later on in the game that we're pressing," center Jarret Stoll said. "They were blocking everything. Probably three-quarters of our shots didn't even make it to the net, but you've got to find different ways."

While the Kings continue to look for answers, goaltender Jonathan Quick has given them a chance to win almost every game. Since Sutter went behind the bench, Quick is 5-1-2 with two shutouts, a 1.10 goals-against average and a .958 save percentage.

"We don't talk about him enough," center Anze Kopitar said of Quick. "He has given us chances every single game and that's all you could ask for from your goaltender. If he gives up one, we should be able to score more than one goal and win the game - especially at home."

Quick has won both his career starts against the Capitals, the most recent one coming in the 2009-10 season. Kopitar has scored at least one point in all five of his games versus Washington, totaling five goals and three assists.

Los Angeles has won four straight and seven of nine between the teams, including a 4-1 road victory in the only meeting last season. Kopitar had a goal and an assist as the Kings scored four unanswered goals after Ovechkin tallied 1:06 into the game.

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