Things have ‘changed quickly’ for the Capitals, losers of four straight

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It wasn’t another 4-2 result. But the losing did continue for the Washington Capitals.

Washington lost 5-2 to the Anaheim Ducks, who were without goalie John Gibson due to injury, on Sunday.

The Capitals leave California on a four-game losing streak. They were swept on this trip, unable to secure even a single point. The schedule doesn’t get any easier in the immediate aftermath of this funk.

The Minnesota Wild lead the Central Division, have a shot at the Presidents’ Trophy and they are next to play the Capitals on Tuesday.

It wasn’t that long ago the Capitals were going through their opponents like a hot knife through butter. But the scoring problems that have suddenly crept up continue to linger on and the losses have followed.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are one point back in the Metropolitan Division. The Columbus Blue Jackets are three back. The New York Rangers are five back. The chase is very much on right now.

“We were winning 5-1, 6-1. Things were going a little too easy but now it’s the other way. It can change quickly here,” said Nicklas Backstrom, per the Capitals. Difficult, if not impossible, to maintain that level of offense throughout an entire 82-game season.

Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler each had three points in the win, with Kesler recording his 20th goal — the ninth time in his career he’s hit that milestone in a single season. While on the other side, Alex Ovechkin‘s scoring drought reached 10 games.

When asked if, on this trip, the opposition’s best players had been better than Washington’s best, Backstrom confirmed that suggestion. “That’s absolutely correct. We had some chances, too, on the power play that we have to capitalize on. Overall, five-on-five we can be better,” he said.

Both teams entered the second period in a scoreless tie, but by the midway point, Anaheim had opened up a three-goal lead, thanks in large part to goals from Perry and Rickard Rakell 28 seconds apart.

“This is going to make us better,” said coach Barry Trotz. “It’s not going to make us worse.”