Kings Vs. Capitals: Caps Hold Players-Only Meeting After Falling To Los Angeles

The Caps head to the west coast on a losing note. Following a loss to LA, the team had a players-only meeting to reverse the negative atmosphere.

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Kings Vs. Capitals: Washington Calls A Players-Only Meeting After Loss To LA

Washington, DC-The Washington Capitals are seeing their mental fortitude put to the test in a year where a high-flying act has gone sour. They were once the toast of the hockey world with an explosive offense and never-say-die persona that led to a 121-point 2009-10 campaign and the undying admiration of newly-minted fan base.

Yet in a matter of months it's safe to say most of the goodwill might be used up.

With the Caps unraveling amidst a disheartening 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, those in attendance at the Verizon Center decided they had seen enough. They showered Bruce Boudreau and his team with boos throughout a dismal third period in which the Kings broke a 1-1 tie by scoring three unanswered goals.

Boudreau was of like mind as he called a timeout to give his squad a tongue-lashing for the ages after Jarret Stoll tapped in Los Angeles' fourth goal late in the third.

The sense of urgency from the coach on the bench was obvious and it carried over to the locker room. Matt Hendricks told reporters that there was a players-only meeting held shortly after the game. Boudreau confirmed the meeting in his press conference, signalling the time to buckle down for the stretch run is imminent.

"That was the players [who held the meeting]," he said. "I was going to come in [to the locker room] and I had talked to somebody earlier about it and he said 'let me go in and say something.'"

The Capitals have 68 points and the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but an anemic power play and a lack offensive firepower has been the cause of much concern. Regular season success has come easy in the past, but now Washington is learning they can't get by with half-hearted efforts for whatever reason.

"I think [we need to get] everyone on the same page for a solid 60 minutes," said Hendricks. "We're going to make mistakes, we're going to have our turnovers. You're going to have times where things don't go the right way, but if we can get everyone kind of committed and buying into the exact same thing...you know it needs to be everyone and we're working at it and hopefully we can figure it out."

For their sake, let's hope they do. 

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Kings Vs. Capitals: Washington Drops A Stinker In A 4-1 Loss To Los Angeles

Washington, DC-Hoping to end a mini-homestand on a high note before embarking on a west coast road trip, the Washington Capitals found themselves on the short end of a demoralizing 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

After an Alex Ovechkin goal just over a minute into the game, the Caps could do nothing right as the Kings outworked them throughout the contest, led by Anze Kopitar and Michal Handzus who each posted a goal and an assist in what turned into an ugly affair at the Verizon Center in a Saturday afternoon matinee.

The Capitals went 0-4 on the power play and didn't score following Ovechkin's goal, which was the team's first shot of the game.

Meanwhile Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier rebounded from a shaky start to stop 22 shots in a row. The Capitals rarely tested him as their offense was unable to establish any momentum, thwarted by poor decision-making and solid work from the Los Angeles defensemen. Washington has scored one goal in the last two games, leaving them to search for more answers in a season where the questions don't stop emerging.

"I don't know what we're waiting for," said Mike Knuble following the loss. "There's a lot to play for-as players, as individuals, as a team. Every game is important. Those are huge points we left on the table."

The Capitals sit in the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings and failed to move closer to Pittsburgh who lost 9-3 to the Islanders Friday night. Now they head off to Arizona for the first of a five game road trip where they play three games on the west coast. Such trips have not been kind to Washington in the past, which doesn't bode well for a team hoping to find their scoring touch and maintain postseason positioning.

Ovechkin and his teammates know the stakes are high and after the game, Matt Hendricks revealed that they held a players-only meeting indicating that there's little question the next handful of games will test the mettle of a team who seems sapped of energy.

However, if they are looking for a quick fix, they shouldn't expect to find one in this up-and-down season according to Boudreau. All it will take is hard work.

"It never happens where you just flip a switch and it goes," he said during his postgame press conference. "It comes from the beginning of the game to the end of the game working your rear end off. So if they are waiting for some switch to magically appear, it's not going to happen."

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Kings Vs. Capitals: Anze Kopitar Ties It Up At 1-1 After Two Periods

Washington, DC-After Alex Ovechkin's early tally, the Capitals have fallen asleep at the wheel against a Western Conference opponent for a second stright game. Fortunately, they still have a period to shake off a sluggish effort against the visiting Kings.

Anze Kopitar tied the game at 1-1 as he located the puck in the crease and sent it to the roof of the net over a sprawled Semyon Varlamov.

The Caps' struggles with the man advantage continued as they failed to convert either of their power play opportunities in the period. Alex Ovechkin is playing on the point and it is evident that the team is missing his presence in front of the net. No one is crashing the crease and it's apparent the power play still has plenty of work to do to get back to last year's form.

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Kings Vs. Caps: Alex Ovechkin Gives The Caps An Early Lead

Washington, DC-The Washington Capitals don't usually storm out of the gates in early games, but today they did in a big way against the Los Angeles Kings thanks to Alex Ovechkin.

The Ovechkin of old made an appearance at 1:06 of the first period today as the Russian sniper snapped a shot from the top of the left circle past Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier to give Washington a 1-0 lead after one. The tally was vintage Ovechkin; a vicious wrist shot that Bernier had no chance at stopping.

Things settled down following the goal as Washington stymied a flat Kings offense, limiting them to four shots. However, on the other end the Caps couldn't convert on several other opportunities.

DJ King is in the lineup today as Boyd Gordon was scratched. To no one's surprise he dropped the gloves in a nice bout against Kevin Westgarth late in the period. The fight should help to raise the level of play in what has been a quiet contest thus far.

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Kings Vs. Capitals: Caps Clash With Kings As West Coast Swing Continues

The Washington Capitals got a rude awakening after being bitten by the San Jose Sharks in a 2-0 shutout loss Tuesday. With the Los Angeles Kings invading Verizon Center for a Saturday matinee, the Caps will look for some California love.

Tuesday's loss was Washington's first of six straight games against Western Conference opponents. The Caps are just 3-5-1 against Western opponents this season and will need a much better effort Saturday to turn things around, especially against a Kings team that is desperately trying to reenter the playoff picture. The Kings are technically in last place in the tight Pacific Division, but only five points separate first from last. Los Angeles is sitting just two points out of eighth place and are doing a good job of hanging on with a 5-0-2 record in their last seven after a 2-10-0 slump sent them on a downward spiral.

The Kings are currently in the midst of a 10-game road trip with their stop in Washington being the fifth game of their recent swing. The Caps, on the other hand, are preparing to head out on their longest road trip of the season thus far; they will head to Phoenix, Anaheim, San Jose, Buffalo and Pittsburgh before returning to Verizon Center Feburary 25. The aforementioned teams are all either in the playoffs or just outside the race as of the start of Friday's action, so the Caps will be tested by teams just as hungry as they are.

Antti Niemi sent the Caps to their eighth shutout of the season Tuesday, but perhaps they could get a bit of relief in net Saturday. Jonathan Quick, 24-14-2 with a 2.13 GAA and .921 SV% this season, could sit after starting the last three games. Starting in place of Quick, who has a career record of 2-0 against Washington with a 2.50 GAA and .931 SV%, would be Jonathan Bernier. As NHL.com points out, if Michal Neuvirth should start, he and Bernier have a history; Neuvirth's Hershey Bears bested Bernier's Manchester Monarchs last season in the AHL Eastern Conference Finals.

Which goalie will be in net for Washington Saturday is still in question, but what seems definite is the return of MIke Green. Green, who sat out Tuesday after taking a puck to the face February 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, feels ready to go and head coach Bruce Boudreau believes he will be in the lineup Saturday.

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