Sports

After 1 win in past 6 games, fading Ovechkin, Capitals find themselves in 'must-win' territory

  • FILE - This March 2, 2014 file photo shows Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin (8) waiting for play to start during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers , in Washington. Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are fading. Ovechkin has gone without a point in the last four games, and his team has lost five of its past six to drop to 10th in the Eastern Conference. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

    FILE - This March 2, 2014 file photo shows Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin (8) waiting for play to start during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers , in Washington. Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are fading. Ovechkin has gone without a point in the last four games, and his team has lost five of its past six to drop to 10th in the Eastern Conference. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This Feb. 6, 2014 file photo shows Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates on the bench in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, in Washington. Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are fading. Ovechkin has gone without a point in the last four games, and his team has lost five of its past six to drop to 10th in the Eastern Conference. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

    FILE - This Feb. 6, 2014 file photo shows Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates on the bench in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, in Washington. Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are fading. Ovechkin has gone without a point in the last four games, and his team has lost five of its past six to drop to 10th in the Eastern Conference. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)  (The Associated Press)

Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates says his club is "very concerned" about its recent rut.

Alex Ovechkin and the fading Capitals have won only one of their last six games heading into Friday night against the visiting Vancouver Canucks, which Oates calls "a must win."

Washington has 15 games left and entered Thursday in 11th place in the 16-team Eastern Conference. Only the top eight teams qualify for the postseason.

There have been various problems lately, including poor passing and puck possession. Also glaring: Ovechkin's sudden lack of scoring. The three-time NHL MVP and team captain leads the league with 44 goals, but has been held without a point in each of the last four games, matching his worst drought this season.