“There’s inconsistency with our whole group, and we’ve been trying to find the right mix that works,” Coach Todd Reirden said.

NHL road trips have always been a time for team bonding, but with the league getting younger, more players are opting to stay at the hotel to play games instead of going out with teammates.

Washington yielded two power-play goals against the Coyotes and has given up six in its past four games.

The mailbag also examines the team’s play as it approaches the quarter-pole of the season, when we might see a Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie line again and defenseman Dmitry Orlov’s start to the season.

The high-scoring defenseman missed Friday's loss to Columbus with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Elsewhere, center Evgeny Kuznetsov didn't practice because of a family matter, but Coach Todd Reirden expects him to play Sunday.

Washington’s leaky penalty kill again is an issue as both Columbus goals come on the power play.

"It was easy. It was simple. It was the right thing to do,” said the winner, who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity so as not to divert attention from the Pittsburgh Jewish community’s recovery.

Backstrom will wear the blades during warmups before the Capitals' game against the Blue Jackets on Friday.

Orpik will miss at least six more games, including Friday night's against Columbus, while Jonas Siegenthaler will make his NHL debut.

Washington has tried five different wingers alongside their top-line stars in the first 14 games Tom Wilson has been suspended. "There’s no real secret formula I have for you, but I’ve tried to talk to some of the guys about what could help them," Wilson said.

The Capitals' captain collaborated with Belarus-based Wargaming after winning the Stanley Cup.

  • Perspective

The Stanley Cup champions get reengaged and reenergized from their matchup with Pittsburgh — and earn a big victory.

Beaten and bruised twice earlier, the winger reenters the game to notch the go-ahead goal with 1:14 left as Washington defeats Pittsburgh.

"There's a certain level of hate, there's a level of respect and when you mix those in, it usually makes for a pretty nasty, fun hockey game," forward T.J. Oshie said.

  • Analysis

A 2-8 start from a veteran team that has been together too long to be this disjointed might cast serious doubts on the job security of the head coach. But that's not how the Wizards operate.

NBC commentator Eddie Olczyk assesses the Caps early season performance and other topics.

“We would love to be playing better and doing better, but when we turn this thing around, is anyone going to care about this time in March or April? No,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said.

Jaskin is the fifth player to try and fill suspended forward Tom Wilson's role on the top line.

Connolly's eight five-on-five points are a team high.

Walker has been claimed off waivers once before.

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