The past few weeks have already been difficult for the Pittsburgh Penguins. A growing injury list that now includes captain Sidney Crosby doesn't figure to help them escape their rut.
With Crosby out with an apparent left knee injury, the Penguins continue a five-game homestand Friday night with a matchup against the struggling Anaheim Ducks.
Defending Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh (21-20-4) allowed Washington to score four times in the final 20 minutes of a 6-3 loss on Wednesday night to fall for the sixth time in its last seven home games.
The Penguins, who won 4-2 at Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia Tuesday, are 6-14-0 since Dec. 6 and have lost eight of their last 10 overall.
"(Tuesday's game) felt easy. It felt like things were natural and that we didn't have to work that hard to be successful, and when you're playing the right way, that's how it feels," winger Matt Cooke said. "Wednesday night, it felt like no matter how hard we worked, it just wasn't there."
Adding to the disappointment of the defeat was the loss of Crosby, who contributed two assists before being hurt late in the game following a collision with Capitals center David Steckel along the boards. He missed 28 games last season with an ankle problem.
Along with Crosby, defenseman Rob Scuderi (face) and forward Maxime Talbot (undisclosed) were hurt Wednesday.
Considering the Penguins are already dealing with injuries to four other players, coach Michel Therrien expects his club to take these setbacks in stride.
"We face adversity and it seems to be like that since the beginning of the year," he said. "We can't feel sorry about ourselves."
Therrien's squad hopes to capitalize on facing an Anaheim team that's been experiencing its own struggles with three losses in the last four games. Each of those contests was a 4-3 decision, most recently against defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit at home on Wednesday.
Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists, but it wasn't enough as the Red Wings scored twice in a 35-second span in the third period.
Anaheim (22-18-5) had won all 14 games in which it owned the lead after the first 40 minutes, according to the team's official Web site.
"We just found a way to lose," said Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 29 saves. "Teams that play with confidence, they find a way to win. I think the Red Wings did that. We don't always do that. It's going to be up to us, the veterans especially, to step up and create something here."
Giguere can start with a solid effort versus the Penguins, against whom he has a 1.50 goals-against average in winning three of four career starts.
Anaheim has won seven of its last 10 versus Pittsburgh with all three losses coming on the road, including 5-4 on Oct. 6, 2007 in the teams' most recent matchup.
The Ducks, opening a five-game road trip, are 2-6-1 away from home since the start of December.