The Washington Times - February 23, 2012, 04:39PM

The Washington Capitals left for a four-game road trip talking about needing to win three games. Maybe sweep it. Splitting the games and picking up four points might do the trick, just to stay afloat.

By the time it was over, the Caps went 1-3. They were outscored 13-5 and embarrassed by the last place team in the Eastern Conference.

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“Even if we have a bad night we’ve got to find ways to tie games and do right things because right now it’s pretty awful,” center Mathieu Perreault said.

The mood after Monday’s 5-0 loss at the Carolina Hurricanes center on frustration. Troy Brouwer said it was much of the same after Wednesday’s 5-2 defeat at the Ottawa Senators.

“We feel that we gave up way too much, way too early and then a couple bad penalties, mine being one of them. You just can’t recover from it,” he said. “It just feels like we let each other down; it feels like we are just giving away points when we need to be playing real good hockey and trying to find ways to climb the standings.”

Instead, the Caps are moving sideways, not plunging because teams around them can’t win. Thursday night is yet another chance for the Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs to pick up important points.

“We’re right there. We had a talk this morning. Dennis Wideman had a good point. We’re potentially still could have home ice in the playoffs,” Brooks Laich said Thursday. “It’s not like we got to win 25 games out of 25 to get into the playoffs. We’re still in a good spot. So still be positive, still come to the rink excited to play. Sure there’s a little bit of a gray cloud right now over us…but still you put a couple wins together and you’re really going to like the position you’re in.”