Avalanche Win 3-2, Capitals Lose Fifth Straight Game

For the first time ever under Coach Bruce Boudreau, the Capitals have lost five games in a row, and four straight at home.

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Avalanche Vs. Capitals: Matt Hendricks Scores But Caps Lose 3-2

Having four straight home games is supposed to feel like a reward for NHL teams. Typically for the Capitals, it is. Not this week though. This week, the Capitals have now lost four straight games at home, and five straight overall.

Washington had its chances though. Mere minutes after instant replay confirmed that a Matt Hendricks shot in the second period was not a goal, Hendricks made no mistake on the power play with 4:30 gone in the third. With Hendricks getting a rare opportunity on the power play line due to Alexander Semin's game misconduct penalty, the forward took advantage. He had some help from Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, but the young Hendricks shot the puck between his legs with his back to the goal and into the net.

Hendricks' goal was all the Capitals could convert as they outshot the Avalanche 17-5 in the third period. Earning shots was not one of the Capitals' chief issues. They mustered 42 on the night, making it five straight games with over 36 shots.

Capitals fans hope that the team will fare better as they take to the road next week. Tomorrow's game against the Rangers in New York would be a great place to start.

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Avalanche Vs. Capitals: Alexander Semin Ejected, Caps Fall Further Behind

The Capitals seem to be reeling more than ever before in Bruce Boudreau's tenure as head coach. The team has never before lost five straight games with Boudreau behind the bench, but that might change tonight.

The odds of the Capitals losing seem to increase by the minute. After falling behind 2-1 in the first period, a five-minute major and game misconduct penalty to Alexander Semin has left the Capitals down by two goals and without one of their most talented forwards. Following a scrum in front Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson, a high crosscheck by Semin after the whistle had blown resulted in the Russian being ejected for "intent to injure."

As if the script had already been pre-written, the Avalanche expectedly capitalized. While Eric Fehr served Semin's penalty in the box, Kevin Shattenkirk found Paul Stastny open in front of the net with a perfect pass.

Despite Semin's ejection and Colorado's lead, the Capitals have actually played fairly well. The home team almost pulled back within one on a goalline shot by Matt Hendricks, but the referees correctly concluded that the puck had not crossed the line after review.

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Avalanche Vs. Capitals: Mike Knuble Scores 250th Career Goal, But Capitals Trail Due To Mistakes

An early goal for the Avalanche had the Capitals on the ropes far too quickly at the Verizon Center. Could they possibly be on their way to losing five games in a row for the first time ever under Bruce Boudreau?

With just 2:14 gone in the game, Colorado's Kevin Shattenkirk scored his fifth goal of the season, slotting a low shot past Michal Neuvirth for the early lead. Shattenkirk was practically on the goalline and squeezed the puck in from a tight angle. Still, Neuvirth certainly could have done better.

Fans throughout the Verizon Center had to be worried that they were about to witness yet another disappointing effort from their home team. Relief was shared all around though when Mike Knuble tied the game at one. Knuble collected a rebound from an Alex Ovechkin shot and scored the 250th goal of his long-standing career. He ranks 30th in goals among all active players in the NHL.

But then, with under two minutes remaining before the first intermission, some lazy defending from the Capitals left Ryan Wilson all alone, and the Avalanche player made no mistakes, burying a wrist shot pass Neuvirth.

Colorado has outshot the Capitals 13-11, and is holding on to a 2-1 lead.

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Avalanche Vs. Capitals: Mike Green Will Sit Out With The Flu

The Washington Capitals will be looking to avoid their first five-game losing streak in the Bruce Boudreau era. They will have to do it without their top defensemen. Boudreau announced before the game that the flu bug that bit the team over the weekend has claimed Mike Green enough to keep him out of action for tonight's game.

This news comes via Brian McNally of the Washington Examiner and several others. Green had been listed as doubtful, but Boudreau confirmed he would be out earlier today.

In addition, Boudreau said that young center Marcus Johansson would not play tonight. Why? Via McNally, here's the blunt answer.

"Needs to watch a game," was the taciturn reason Boudreau gave.

Johansson is one of many Capitals who is struggling recently, having not registered a point in five games and struggling in faceoff situations.

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Avalanche V. Capitals: Caps Look To End Homestand On High Note

The Capitals are in the midst of their longest homestand of the season and entering Verizon Center usually spells doom for visiting teams. Recently, however, Washington has looked human at home and will look to end its extended stay at Verizon Center with a victory over former Cap Tomas Fleischmann and the Colorado Avalanche

Fleischmann, traded to Colorado in exchange for defenseman Scott Hannan November 30, has one goal and three assists in four games with the Avalanche after having four goals and six assists with the Capitals. The Avalanche snapped their own four-game losing streak Friday in a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers. It was Colorado's first win with Flash in the lineup. Meanwhile, the Capitals have yet to win with Hannan on the blueline. 

In order for the Capitals to break their own four-game losing streak, a season high, they will have to do it shorthanded. Six Caps have come down with the flu (Brooks Laich, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, John Carlson and Boyd Gordon) and their statuses are unknown for Saturday. What is known, however, is that the Capitals recalled defenseman Brian Fahey from AHL Hershey Friday, which could mean that Carlson or Green will sit out. Green has struggled recently; he has one goal and one assist since November 14.

The flu is not the only thing plaguing Washington right now. The usually high-octane offense of the Capitals has run out of gas in recent games. Since their 6-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning November 26, the Capitals have scored 13 goals in six games and have been shutout three times in their last 11 games.

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