It’s tough to predict these days which version of the Washington Capitals might step on to the ice on any given night.

Take the last two games. Both were losses, but against New Jersey the Capitals appeared to retreat and compounded their problems with a cornucopia of turnovers en route to a 5-0 drubbing. Against Philadelphia, they came out fiery from the start and although they were shut out again, 1-0, it was a much tighter, disciplined contest.

On Monday, veteran winger Mike Knuble summed up Washington’s predicament rather succinctly.

“We’re in tight games. If we don’t blow it ourselves, then we’re going to be in tight games like [against the Flyers],” Knuble said. “Good all around game from pretty much start to finish – good effort. You look at the game before [against New Jersey], we gave them the chances, turn the puck over and it ends up in our net. When we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot, we have a chance to win.”

In their past six games, the Capitals have defeated three teams below them in the standings but lost to three teams ahead of them. Knuble called it a “predictable path” and it is why Washington remains stuck in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, now three points out of a playoff spot.

“It’s frustrating as a group because then you’re not going anywhere and you keep hanging around,” Knuble said. “Other teams come up on you; that’s what we’re seeing right now.”

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