When the Capitals began a five-game road trip 10 days ago, it loomed as an intimidating and potentially season-defining stretch.

The results were mixed but Washington managed to obtain five of the possible 10 points available on the grueling stretch, not bad when considering it has obtained points in only 18 of 38 road games this season.

The Capitals are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, precisely where they were at the outset of the trip, but they haven’t managed to pull ahead of the pack and with 81 points sit only one point ahead of ninth-place Buffalo.

“I think we got some points in some real tough buildings,” Troy Brouwer said when asked to assess the trip. “A couple of our games we didn’t show up as much as we would have liked to, especially for the time of the season but five points in five games is all right right now.”

Now that the road trip is behind them, the Capitals will play five of their final eight regular season games at home in the friendly confines of Verizon Center.

They’re 23-10-3 at home and with important matchups against teams behind them in the standings still to play, the Capitals are still very much in control of their own destiny.

“We play better on this road trip,” Alex Ovechkin said. “The loss in Chicago, it was just cause we lost the first period right away. After that, we just bounced back in Detroit and I think [in Philadelphia] we came out hard and we scored the first goal. Again, I believe if I scored right away in the second period and [Keith Aucoin] score on that post, it may be a different game. But, you can’t say, ’cause we lost it.”

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