The Washington Capitals, doing so well 10 days ago, have gone into a tailspin and have not won in their past five games (0-4-1).
Coach Terry Murray is angry over the recent turn of his team's fortunes, and the players are trying to figure out was is wrong.
After Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Capital Centre, Murray said the reason for the slump is that the players are not concentrating on the job at hand.
"The intensity is not there," he said. "Some guys think they are too big for this game, and I'm not talking about one or two guys, I'm talking about everyone. They're not showing the poise and control we need to win games. This was an embarrassment. We played well on the road [0-3-1], and I thought we could have won each of our games. But we come home and play like this. It was a major disappointment. We lacked poise and discipline. There is no excuse for it."
Defenseman and team captain Rod Langway said: "We didn't play a good game [against Toronto]. Terry [Murray] told us to be patient and not to lose our cool. We just didn't do what we had to do to win."
Said defenseman Kevin Hatcher: "No one is happy with the way things are going now. We just haven't been bearing down enough. We're not playing disciplined hockey. We're not playing Capitals hockey. We have to get back to doing the things we were doing a couple of weeks ago."
Don Beaupre, the goalie who entered the Toronto game with the best goals-against average in the National Hockey League, 2.33, deserved better. All of Toronto's goals came either on power plays or on plays where the Maple Leafs player was left unguarded.
"Terry [Murray] has been blowing his top lately," said Beaupre. "But we deserve it. We haven't played with a lot of enthusiasm of late, and he gets frustrated just like we do. We're going to have to get back to playing capable hockey."
The Capitals, who were without defensemen Mikhail Tatarinov (knee) and Neil Sheehy (ankle), lost another, Chris Felix, just called up from the Baltimore Skipjacks, who broke his ankle in the first period. He is expected to be out for at least four weeks.
"It was a terrible feeling," said Felix. "It was like someone took my leg and just twisted it. It hurt throughout the entire leg. It sounded like a chicken bone breaking."