Caps aim to extend Kings' offensive frustrations

The Washington Capitals will try to get back on track scoring Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.

The Capitals had won four straight before losing Saturday in San Jose. It was Washington's longest winning streak since it opened the season on a seven-game tear.

The Kings, meanwhile, have lost two of their last three outings and have scored just two goals over that span. LA lost Saturday's home game against lowly Columbus by a 1-0 score and the Kings are last in the NHL with an average of just 2.02 goals per game.

Washington was dealt a 5-2 setback Saturday in San Jose as Patrick Marleau had a goal and two assists to lead the Sharks, who fired 38 shots on Washington netminder Tomas Vokoun.

Dennis Wideman scored and assisted on Joel Ward's goal for the Capitals, who have not won in San Jose since 1993. Vokoun stopped 34 shots in the setback.

"They're a tough team to play against for a goalie," Vokoun said of the Sharks. "They go to the net hard."

Washington, which is two points behind Pittsburgh for the eighth and final playoff seed in the East, is just 7-11-1 on the road this year compared to a 14-5-1 mark at home. After tonight's test, the Caps will return to D.C. for a four-game homestand.

The Caps played Saturday without top centerman Nicklas Backstrom, who was held out of the lineup as a precaution after getting elbowed in the head by Calgary's Rene Bourque on Tuesday. Bourque was suspended for five games for the incident and Backstrom will likely be a game-time decision tonight. Backstrom was riding a five-game point streak before the injury.

Washington defenseman Mike Green has been dogged by groin issues for much of the season and he was pulled from Saturday's game after the muscle tightened up. Green, who has three goals and three assists in just 10 games this year, is questionable for tonight.

The Kings, meanwhile, will try to overcome the offensive deficiency that has plagued them all year when they take the ice tonight. Los Angeles fired 31 shots at Curtis Sanford on Saturday, but the Blue Jackets netminder stopped every one.

After falling behind 1-0 in the second period, Los Angeles opened the third stanza on a four-minute power play and had a two-man advantage for 37 seconds. The Kings got another chance to net the equalizer, spending the final 1:25 on a power play with Columbus' Grant Clitsome -- the lone goal-scorer -- off for delay of game.

But goals continue to elude the Kings, who suffered their first regulation loss since Darryl Sutter took over as head coach (5-1-3). Los Angeles, which finished 0-for-8 on the power play Saturday, is ranked 28th in the NHL on the man advantage.

"We have to find a way to score goals. That has kind of been the problem for us all year," said Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown.

Jonathan Quick recorded 17 saves for the Kings, who had picked up at least a point in a season-high nine straight games (6-0-3) before losing to Columbus.

Kings forward Dustin Penner missed Saturday's game due to a back problem and is questionable for tonight. Defenseman Slava Voynov could return tonight after sitting out the last three tests with an upper-body injury.

Los Angeles is 2-1-1 so far on a six-game homestand and is 12-10-2 as the host this season. The residency will end Thursday against Dallas, which is tied with the Kings for second place in the Pacific Division.

The Kings have taken four straight and seven of the last nine meetings against Washington, but the clubs split the previous six encounters in the City of Angels.