A fast start by the Boston Bruins has again been erased by a dreadful December.
Boston hopes to end a season-worst six-game winless streak when it concludes a three-game road trip against the Washington Capitals.
For the second straight season, the Bruins were one of the league's best teams through November, but have hit a dry spell in December. They were 11-2-3-3 following a 3-2 win over Washington on Nov. 20, but have won just two of 17 games (2-8-6-1) since.
Boston was an NHL-best 19-4-3-1 through Dec. 8 last season before winning only three of the next 18 games (3-14-1).
Saturday's 4-2 loss at Tampa Bay may have been Boston's most discouraging of the season.
Not only did the Bruins go scoreless on six power-play opportunities, but they gave up three shorthanded goals.
"The power play didn't get it done," Boston coach Mike Sullivan said. "Not only did we not get it done, but it cost our team on the other end."
A struggling offense continues to be a big problem for the Bruins. They have scored just 34 goals over the past 17 games.
Washington failed to record the 1,000th victory in franchise history Saturday, falling 3-1 to visiting Buffalo.
"One of our strengths has to be shooting," Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. "Our attempts weren't bad because we took some good shots. But it was a combination of Buffalo getting in the shooting lanes and us not driving to the net."
Although they are still last in the Southeast Division, the Capitals have played better since Hanlon took over as coach on Dec. 10. Washington is 3-3-2-0 under Hanlon after going 8-18-1-1 under Bruce Cassidy.