Through two games under new head coach Dale Hunter, the Washington Capitals have shown flashes of breaking out of their four-game slump. Two games this week have ended in identical 2-1 losses at home, but the Caps will have one more chance Saturday to win their first game with Hunter as their coach against the Ottawa Senators at Verizon Center.
The Caps' 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday dropped them to 10th in the Eastern Conference by day's end, the latest the Caps have been out of the conference's top eight since 2007-08. Since a 7-0-0 start, the Caps are 5-11-1. Only the Carolina Hurricanes have earned as few points as Washington in their last 10 games (2-7-1).
Ottawa enters Saturday's game with a 5-1-0 record against the Southeast Division. The lone loss came October 15 in a 2-1 loss that was eerily similar to the two games that the Caps have played under Hunter (other than the Caps jumping out to a 2-0 lead). The Senators outshot the Caps 26-12 in the final two periods, but could not score.
Both teams are getting goals from unlikely sources. Jason Chimera leads Washington with 10 goals, which ties his total from all of last season. Meanwhile, Milan Michalek has 15 for Ottawa, third in the NHL.