Senators-Capitals Preview

The Associated Press

The Washington Capitals are the only team in hockey this season that hasn't won a game in regulation or overtime when scoring fewer than four goals.

In the midst of a scoring drought, Wednesday night's home game against struggling Ottawa could present an opportunity to finally win one without such a heavy reliance on offense.

The Capitals (12-10-2) have scored four goals or more in each of their seven regulation wins this year. Their other five victories have come in shootouts.

Washington is trying to work through a three-game losing streak in which it's managed three goals, and now it's facing a trade request from disgruntled forward Martin Erat.

Erat, playing mostly on the fourth line, is demanding a trade after being a healthy scratch Saturday for the first time in his career. It's the second trade he has requested in as many seasons after asking out of Nashville less than eight months ago.

"Marty doesn't feel like he fits in here, and we've always told our players - it's been our policy for 15 years or so - that if you don't feel like you fit in, if you feel like it'd be better for your career to be some place else, let us know and we'll try to accommodate that," said Capitals vice president and general manager George McPhee, adding that he's been aware of Erat's unhappiness since early in the season.

Erat hasn't scored for the Capitals since April 16, his only goal in 36 games since being acquired in April with plans of being a top-six forward. He has six assists in 23 games this season.

The Capitals salvaged a point in Saturday's 2-1 shootout loss at Toronto.

Alex Ovechkin scored in the third period to send it to overtime, but Eric Fehr - dressed in place of Erat - was the only of four Capitals to convert in the shootout.

Ovechkin has seven goals in his last six games and leads the league with 20. He became the third active player to score at least 20 goals in each of his first nine NHL seasons.

Washington put a season-high 50 shots on Toronto after totaling 65 in its previous three.

The Capitals' power play, which led the league by a wide margin through Nov. 9, is just 2 for 23 in the last seven games. Their penalty kill, which also once led the league, has allowed at least a goal in the last five games and has killed just 68.4 percent of their short-handed situations during that time.

Perhaps facing the Senators (9-11-4) can at least get Washington's power play back on track. Ottawa has allowed at least one goal while short-handed in five straight games, killing 16 of 24 penalties in that span.

The Senators lost for the fourth time in that stretch Sunday, falling 4-1 in Carolina and going scoreless for the last 58:53.

"Right now, we don't play hard enough to win," coach Paul MacLean told the team's official website. "We don't play long enough to win consistently. (We) play the teams that are below us in the standings, and we don't seem to have enough respect for them to play hard enough."

The Senators have won four straight against Washington, including a three-game sweep of last season's series, but the Capitals are 11-0-2 in their last 13 against Ottawa at home.

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