The Washington Capitals' win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Winter Classic last Saturday was a historic one for the franchise. Tuesday's loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning was also historic, but not in a good way.. The Caps will look to rebound in the first game of a home-and-home against the Florida Panthers Saturday at Verizon Center.
Washington lost 1-0 to the Lightning Tuesday, the first 1-0 overtime loss in franchise history and first 1-0 loss since 2004. Martin St. Louis scored in overtime to spoil Semyon Varlamov's shutout try, despite making 37 saves.
The lack of scoring has been nothing new to the Capitals' primary scorers, especially Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin has four goals in his last 20 games. Perhaps an injury has hampered his usually-potent scoring touch; Ovechkin received a cortisone shot in his left arm after Tuesday's game and didn't handle the puck until practice Friday.
Ovechkin should be ready to go Saturday, but might find himself on a different line. Head coach Bruce Boudreau switched up lines at practice Friday, putting the left winger Ovechkin on the right side and dropping him to the second line. Boudreau said that separating Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom might spark their offensive production; Backstrom has not scored in his last 15 games.
Maybe moving Alexander Semin to the first line in place of Ovechkin will help him, too. Despite leading the team with 18 goals, Semin has not scored since November 28.