DETROIT, NOV. 18 -- With New England proving inhospitable, the Washington Capitals traveled to the Midwest hoping to find a place to win.
The Capitals dropped their fifth straight game Saturday night in Hartford, 4-2 to the Whalers, who knew some of the Capitals like brothers. Monday night brothers Terry and Bryan Murray will coach against each other for the second time in two months. Terry and the Capitals are hoping they will find the same fortune they did in October when they defeated Bryan and the Detroit Red Wings, 6-4.
Goals have not come so easy lately, as the Capitals have followed a five-game winning streak with a five-game losing streak. Only once in those 10 games have the Capitals scored more than four times, and that victory included an empty-net goal.
In just three of 22 games have the Capitals scored more than four goals. And only once during this losing streak have the Capitals led -- 2-1 in the first period against Boston seven days ago.
"I don't think we're playing all that badly, but if you score just two or three goals, you have to make sure you don't make that extra mistake," forward Michal Pivonka said.
The mistakes are more glaring when there is less offense to offset them.
Mike Liut was in goal Saturday for the Capitals against his former team. Dave Tippett and Joel Quenneville were also returning Whalers alums. Liut had good looks at a couple of former teammates as they skated in alone on him. Doug Crossman, Kevin Dineen, Pat Verbeek and Ron Francis scored as the Whalers built a 4-0 lead.
The Capitals needed nearly 50 minutes to end Peter Sidorkiewicz's shutout.
The forwards simply have not provided enough scoring. John Druce still leads the team with 10 goals, but Pivonka's six are the next-highest total. Defensemen Calle Johansson, Kevin Hatcher and Tatarinov are providing much of the offense, at the risk of leaving openings for opponents.
"Those guys up there helped us a lot last year," Johansson said of the forwards. "We need them to score some more goals than they have been, but we know it will come."