National Hockey League
Capitals-Sharks Preview
National Hockey League

Capitals-Sharks Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 3:23 p.m. ET

The Washington Capitals are certainly hoping Alex Ovechkin will wake up after matching his longest goal drought of the season.

The last time they faced the San Jose Sharks he was benched for failing to wake up in time.

The Sharks likely won't be as lucky this time as they try to reverse their season-long home woes Saturday night against Ovechkin and the Capitals.

Ovechkin has gone four games without a goal for the third time. His previous longer drought was six in a row from Oct. 18-Nov. 1, 2014.


He sat out Washington's worst performance of the season, a 5-0 loss to San Jose (37-24-6) on Oct. 13, for disciplinary reasons for missing the morning skate. The superstar said he overslept after accidentally setting his alarm for 8:30 p.m. instead of 8:30 a.m.

Perhaps it's the Sharks who need to change their game-day routine at home, where they have gone 12-15-3 for 27 points - the league's lowest total. They began a stretch of nine of 10 in San Jose with Thursday's 3-0 defeat to New Jersey.

''We've been successful on the road, it takes a lot out of us winning those games and finding ways to win,'' defenseman Paul Martin said. ''Maybe we take it for granted, that the same thing will happen at home. We need to play (at home) with some desperation.''

Despite holding a 30-16 shot advantage, the Sharks were blanked for the first time in 38 games. Coach Pete DeBoer felt that the schedule played a role in the performance since his team returned home after sweeping games in Calgary on Monday and Edmonton on Tuesday.

"A little bit of a trap game, four in six nights coming back from the West," DeBoer said. "I'm not one to make excuses but it's real when you have not just one or two guys off, that's real."

This contest features six skaters who have reached 60 points. Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov has 68 while Nicklas Backstrom has 62 and Ovechkin 61. The San Jose tandem of Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton have 64 apiece while defenseman Brent Burns has matched a career high with 60.

Burns had nine points in a five-game run that was snapped Thursday.

Washington (49-13-5) tries again to post its first 50-win season in six after Wednesday's 4-3 overtime loss at Los Angeles. The Capitals trailed 3-0 entering the third period before rallying to salvage a point.

"This group is resilient, they were down three pucks and looked at it to see if we can come back and we did," coach Barry Trotz said.

The Capitals allowed three first-period goals to continue a disturbing trend in which they've been outscored 7-0 in the first 20 minutes of their last four games.

"We gotta recognize how important the first period is, everybody is trying to jump on us in the first and we're letting them," Trotz said. "And that's something we've got to correct. We won't be able to do that come playoff time."

Sharks winger Joel Ward is in the midst of a season-high eight-game pointless drought heading into his second game against the team he spent his previous four seasons with.

Washington has played 12 straight one-goal games and 17 of the last 19, with empty-netters stretching the margin to two in the other two.


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