Alex Ovechkin is not overly concerned.
Yes, he knows hes gone four games without a point and the Caps have lost all four times.
Yes, he knows hes on pace for 32 goals and 64 points both career lows and that with each mounting loss the likelihood of a major shakeup within the Capitals organization increases.
But if there is an inordinate amount of pressure on the 26-year-old captain heading into tonights home game against the Phoenix Coyotes he is hiding it well.
Every game Ive had chances and Im happy about that, Ovechkin said. Sometimes I shoot the puck from the blue line and it goes in and sometimes I shoot the puck at an empty net and it misses the net. That can happen. Right now Im shooting pucks from everywhere and its not going in.
Ovechkins shot totals are down this season, but theyve been on a steady incline in recent games. He managed eight shots on net in the Capitals 7-1 loss to the Maple Leafs on Saturday, most of them in the second half of the game after the Caps had fallen behind 4-1.
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau believes Ovechkin could have had five points against the Maple Leafs and, like his captain, sees no reason for Ovechkin to try to re-invent himself just because hes matched a career high in consecutive games without a point.
Yeah, we look at the numbers and the numbers arent good, Boudreau said. But what we always tell the players is start really worrying when you dont get the opportunities. When he shoots that many pucks theyre going to start going in.
Ovechkin, who did not participate in Mondays optional morning skate, is expected to play on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer tonight. Teammate Karl Alzner said hes hoping the home crowd can give a boost to Ovechkin, who was booed lustily in back-to-back losses in Winnipeg and Toronto.
It would be nice to have everybody on his side, Alzner said. As teammates, were going to push him to be himself. People have said he hasnt been, but Ive seen flashes of Ovi in the past bunch of games and I think hell be fine.
As for the Caps 3-7-1 slide since opening the season with seven straight wins, Ovechkin said the players held a private meeting Friday in Toronto and stressed the importance of sticking together.
Thats between me and the team, Ovechkin said of the meeting. I dont have to tell you guys what we talked about. Everybody has to realize were one group and if we win together we have to lose together. You cant say one guy didnt play well and thats why we lose. Everybody wins, everybody loses.