The Capitals and Dallas Stars are the only two teams in the NHL that have gone the entire season without suffering consecutive regulation losses. Ironically, both teams are 0-1-1 in their last two games and will look to break their losing streaks tonight.
While the Stars visit the Rangers, the Capitals will be in Boston to visit the Bruins. The Caps’ training camp goal of not losing back-to-back games this season was foiled by the Blue Jackets, who pulled out a 5-4 shootout win Saturday night in Columbus.
“That’s the thing about this team right now,” said Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who has four goals in his last four games. “When we lose one we try to win the next one. We almost did against Columbus.
“They score the tying goal with like a minute left (1:08) and we had a chance in overtime to get the lead and in the shootout as well. The chemistry and the experience means a lot.
“We haven’t had that kind of slump where we go down and then go up like every (other) year. All this year we’re like the same level and it’s a good thing. We just have to stick with it and play the same way.”
While the Stars are 11-1-0 following losses this season, the Caps are 8-0-1. Capas coach Barry Trotz said it was a stated goal before the season to avoid consecutive losses, but he noted the Caps managed to get a point out of their two-game road trip to Carolina and Columbus.
“One loss can turn into two, to three, to four pretty quick with the way the schedule is and the teams you can run into,” said Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, noting the Caps follow tonight’s game with visits to the Islanders in Brooklyn and the Rangers in New York.
“That’s why we (set a goal) like that. How do you manage to do it? That’s tough.
“The two biggest things is our desire to not lose. We hate it. The thought of another team celebrating on the ice with us is not something we want to have.
“The other thing is the attitude in the dressing room. We lose a game and the next day it’s like nothing ever happened. We’re still energetic and we’re still having fun in the ice and in the room. When you lose some guys aren’t playing great and that gets in your head. But we have a job as teammates to get everybody excited for the next game.”
So far, that strategy has worked. But with the Bruins coming off a humbling 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the New Year’s Day Winter Classic, the Caps know they’ll have their hands full tonight.
“I’m sure they’re fired up,” Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said. “We want to play better than we have the last few games.
“Overall, we’re trying to get that mentality now that we want to win every game. We’re not satisfied. It’s something we really talk to each other about as players.
“It’s important we don’t look too far ahead, especially if you look at this road trip. Three really good teams, all in playoff spots, and it’s really important we play our best hockey and not get into a losing streak. It’s important to turn this around right away.”
MORE CAPITALS: Could injuries have Capitals exploring a trade?