ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals are winless in five of their past six games (1-4-1) and struggling in several key areas at a time when they can't afford to do so.
One area of particular concern is the faceoff circle, where the Capitals have won 133 of 333 draws (39.9 percent) during their recent skid, well below their 48.9-percent season average.
Beginning on Friday against the Vancouver Canucks, seven of Washington's next nine games are against teams ranked among the top 10 in faceoff percentage in the NHL, including five against the top five.
"I've been struggling the last couple games in the faceoff circle," said center Nicklas Backstrom, who has won about 47 of his faceoffs over his past six games. "You want to be better at it because it helps get puck possession right away."