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Adam Oates

Capitals' recent gains seem to be vanishing

A little more than a month ago, the Washington Capitals called a players-only meeting in search of a wake-up call. Off to the fourth-worst start in franchise history at 2-8-1, they sat in last place in the NHL, five points out of a playoff spot.

They've gone 8-5-0 in the 13 games since the meeting, at times showing enough noticeable improvement to suggest that things were finally starting to come together under first-year coach Adam Oates.

But after losing to the Islanders and Rangers this weekend, the Capitals have little to show for their modest progress. Halfway through the season, Washington is actually further from a playoff position through 24 games than it was after...