- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Washington Capitals have not lost in regulation in the past seven games, a streak that’s even more impressive considering they have been without two of their top defensive players for much of that time.

Center Sergei Fedorov (ankle) and defenseman Shaone Morrisonn (groin) have missed the past five games. Although the team is still accumulating points, there have been signs that those two are missed.

There were defensive flaws in Washington´s 6-5 shootout loss Saturday at New Jersey, but the effort the night before in a 3-1 win against the same foe was also substandard. That will need to change entering Wednesday’s game at Anaheim that opens a four-game trip.

“When we´re a good team, we´re allowing 25 shots or less,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “There are seven or eight shots in there that I think we can start to nullify if we start playing better.”

The Caps have yielded less than 25 shots only twice in 17 games this season — and not since a dominant performance against a weary Vancouver squad Oct. 13. During this seven-game run, opponents have outshot the Caps six times, more proof that Washington has relied on the strong play of goalies Brent Johnson and Jose Theodore.

“We always talk as a team that we want to give up two goals or less per game. It is not, ‘Well, we are missing [Fedorov] and [Morrisonn], so we´re going to give up more,’ ” forward Brooks Laich said. “We´ve got to be accountable — from forwards to defensemen to the goaltender. Everybody has to be accountable.”

After practice Tuesday at Honda Center, Boudreau said Morrisonn will be a game-time decision against the Ducks. Boudreau called Fedorov “questionable” and deemed leading scorer Alexander Semin “doubtful.” Still dealing with an upper-body injury that held him out of action Saturday, Semin left practice early for the second consecutive day.

“[Fedorov and Morrisonn] are two guys that are tough to lose from the lineup, but what are you going to do? That´s part of the game,” Laich said. “We aren´t going to use it as a crutch.”


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