If youre looking for reasons for the Capitals recent run of mediocrity their lack of secondary scoring is a good start.
The roll call is less than encouraging, but here we go:
After scoring 13 goals in his first 33 games Jason Chimera has one in his last 19. Hes not alone.
Mike Knuble has gone 26 games without a goal.
Joel Ward has one goal in his last 39 games.
Jeff Halpern has gone 23 without a goal.
Combine that with Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson teaming up for two goals in their last 11 games and youve got six reasons for the Caps sitting in ninth place with a 27-21-4 record.
Its got to be me and Knoobs and Halpy scoring goals, said Chimera, who in December seemed like a lock to score 30 goals. We need to score as a committee now. We rely heavily on Ovi and Sasha Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin, but guys like me got to pull their weight and get back to scoring goals.
It started off well, but it kind of dried up of late. Secondary scoring is going to be huge going down the stretch here.
That stretch begins this week with games Tuesday and Thursday against the Florida Panthers, who are one point head of the Capitals, and Winnipeg Jets, who are four points behind.
Knuble has just three goals in 52 games this season and is a team-worst minus-14. He said offensive chances are harder to come by under coach Dale Hunters passive forechecking system but acknowledges the Capitals third and fourth lines have been guilty of cross-corner dump-ins that allow opponent to easily turn pucks the other way.
Dont just dump it to get it in, give our guys a chance to get it, Knuble said. We sit on the bench and say to each other, God, I cant stand cross-corner dump-ins. Your linemate is saying, I do, too. So, why do we keep doing it? Its an offense killer.