NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals trades punches during the second period against Brandon Dubinsky #17 of the New York Rangers on December 12, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Frustration has boiled over for the Washington Capitals.
The losing streak is now at six games after a 7-0 drubbing Sunday night at the hands of the Rangers.
How bad was the game? So bad that Alex Ovechkin resorted to dropping the gloves in order to try to light a fire under his teammates.
It was a little too late on this night, but perhaps it will have some lasting effects on a team spiraling downward.
With the Caps down 4-0 in the second period, Ovie went a round with Brandon Dubinsky -- with minimal results. The fight came after Ovechkin went low and laid a hard hip check on Dan Girardi as the defenseman passed the puck up out of his own end. After the hit along the boards, Ovechkin skated over to Dubinsky and dropped his gloves first. Dubinsky followed and the two danced for about 15 seconds, with neither man getting in a clean shot.
Who won? Good question. The fight card on HockeyFights.com said Sunday night that 73 percent who voted had the battle going to Dubinsky.
After the fight, Ovechkin looked over at his own bench, waved his arms and tried to rally the troops. But his punches went for naught, as the Rangers went on to score three more goals en route to the shutout. It's the first time the Caps have lost six in a row since 2007. And for Ovechkin, he has scored just three goals in his past 16 games.
This was just the second fight of Ovechkin's career. The first was in December 2006 against Paul Gaustad when he had to face retribution for his hit from behind on Danny Briere in a game against the Sabres.
Ovechkin nearly dropped the gloves last season against Tampa Bay's Steve Downie, but Matt Bradley jumped in at the last second and did the dirty work for him.
Ovechkin's fight Sunday night reminded many of Sidney Crosby's bout last month against Dallas. Since Crosby dropped the gloves against Matt Niskanen, he's gone on an 18-game scoring streak, and the Pens have 15 wins over that stretch.
Could the same thing happen for the Capitals? It's hard to tell. The team is currently without Mike Green and Jeff Schultz on defense. The high-powered offense has dried up. Not only isn't Ovechkin scoring, but neither is Alex Semin, who tried to exorcise his own demons Saturday night with a cross-check to the head of a Colorado defenseman.
So where do the Caps go from here? General manager George McPhee will ponder another trade or perhaps a more drastic move. Bruce Boudreau will ponder line changes and his own future. The players will try some new superstitions, new sticks and whatever else they can to break this streak.
If nothing else, this is making for one great storyline for HBO's documentary ahead of the Winter Classic...