Each time the Capitals have a chance to try to build on a win these days, it seems to pass them by. After what seemed like a textbook road victory in Winnipeg, they closed out this two-game trip with a sloppy outing and a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

Despite the uneven play through the first two periods, Washington entered the third trailing by one and with 20 minutes to potentially challenge that outcome. Instead, the Capitals wound up hemmed in their own end for prolonged stretches as the Avalanche played keep-away. When Washington did escape the defensive zone, the Avalanche opted to trap and sit back without hardly any forecheck, but the team didn’t find itself with many offensive opportunities early.

Karl Alzner took the Capitals’ first shot of the period – a 60-foot slapper – 2 minutes and 15 seconds into the third and for more than 12 minutes there wouldn’t be another shot against Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Jason Chimera would take the next shot, 14:23 elapsed in the period.

“It was almost a 0-5 forecheck at times [in the third]. That’s when we’ve got to dump pucks, get some pucks in deep and get some pressure. When we do that, we’re pretty good,” Chimera said. “It’s more of the basic stuff, get pucks back to the point, shoot pucks, go to the front of the net. We’re getting enough [initial] chances, we’re not getting enough secondary chances — rebounds and stuff like that to score goals. Get to the net. . . . You need a couple guys there to get rebounds. We need more bodies there to score goals.”

Defensively, the tenets that worked well against the Jets were absent when the Avalanche pushed and set up shop in the offensive zone.

“We didn’t have a good enough answer for them in the third,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “Those are the times we try and tell each other just keep it simple and then for whatever reason we go out there and we don’t do it.

“That’s the main thing, when you look at everything in trying to get off this rollercoaster ride is always doing the same thing – we’ve got to be methodical and work hard,” Alzner continued. “You see the teams that do that are usually successful and that’s what we’re not doing enough of.”