The Washington Capitals will be without the services of their captain for the second consecutive game tonight in New Jersey.
The Caps ruled out Alex Ovechkin on Friday with a lower-body injury, meaning the club will now seek to end its season-long six-game losing streak without its leading scorer.
Needless to say, the loss is profound.
Ovechkin’s 35 goals account for more than one-quarter of Washington’s offense on the year and, lately, that offense has sputtered. The Caps have just seven goals over their losing skid, and were shut out 2-0 against Ottawa in their first game sans Ovi (it was the third time Washington’s been shut out this season.)
Ovechkin has been remarkably durable over his nine-year career, having never missed more than 10 games in a season. While it’s unclear of the severity of this injury, missing two games in a row so close to the Olympics will definitely raise some eyebrows, as Ovechkin is expected to be one of the leaders for the Russian team at the Winter Games in Sochi — a team that’s under intense pressure to do well following a disastrous sixth-place finish four years ago in Vancouver.