Capitals aim to find their offense vs. Hurricanes

The Washington Capitals hope to end a lengthy scoring drought and avoid a third straight loss when they welcome the Carolina Hurricanes for tonight's battle at Verizon Center.

The Capitals' last goal came last Tuesday when Alex Ovechkin scored in overtime to propel Washington to a win over the New York Islanders. However, the club was shut out twice on its home ice this past weekend, losing 5-0 to the Devils on Friday before dropping Sunday's 1-0 decision to Philadelphia.

Washington was frustrated time and time again on Sunday by Philadelphia's Ilya Bryzgalov, who turned aside all 34 shots for his third shutout of the season. Eric Wellwood's tally in the second period was the game's only goal.

Michal Neuvirth played well in the loss, stopping 22-of-23 shots for the Capitals.

"Usually when you limit a team to one goal you should win the game," Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. "We all have got to chip in a little bit more. Everybody is in a bit of a drought."

Neuvirth has started the last five games for Washington, while Tomas Vokoun has been sidelined with a lower-body injury. Vokoun did participate in a full practice on Monday and may be able to suit up tonight.

Washington's victory over the Islanders last week began a five-game homestand and also marked a third straight win for the Capitals, who would not be in the playoffs if the regular season ended today. Washington is currently three points behind Winnipeg for the eighth and final postseason berth in the East.

The Caps, who will close the residency Thursday against Tampa Bay, are 21-10-2 as the host this season.

Carolina is coming off consecutive home losses and will begin a five-game road trip tonight. The Hurricanes, who are 10 points out of a playoff spot in the East, are just 7-14-8 as the guest this year compared to a 17-13-6 mark at home.

The Hurricanes were dealt a 4-3 overtime loss by the Lightning on Saturday, as Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner at 2:41 of extra session.

Anthony Stewart scored twice for Carolina and Jussi Jokinen also lit the lamp. Eric Staal added two assists for the Hurricanes and Cam Ward was tagged for all four goals on 23 shots.

Staal enters tonight with the longest active point streak in the NHL. Carolina's captain has seven goals and 13 assists during the 11-game tear that began back on Feb. 8.

Tonight's test marks the final scheduled meeting between Carolina and Washington this season. The Capitals have taken eight of 11 overall in this matchup, but Carolina has taken two in a row since Washington began the season series with three straight wins.

The Caps have won two straight and five of their last six home tests against the Hurricanes.