Maybe it's a product of so many games in so few nights. Maybe it's a product of learning another new system.

Whatever the reason, the Washington Capitals have been playing a lot of ugly hockey early in this season. Friday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers was no work of art, even though it was an improvement from some previous outings.

The difference was that the Caps got a victory this time, 3-2 over the Flyers at Verizon Center. It wasn't pretty, but given the brutal start to the season, they'll take points any way they can get them right now.

"It was really big," center Nicklas Backstrom said. "We had a tough road trip here; we played good against Ottawa, had a lead before the third period and the same thing against Toronto. We really needed this one, especially in this position we're in. We need points."