At the start of this week, you might have thought the Capitals had just embarked on Carnival’s five-day trip to nowhere.

“It’s a mess,” NBC Sports Network analyst and former Capitals agitator Keith Jones told NHL.com.

NHL Network and TSN analyst Craig Button agreed.

“There’s a difference between a team that is trying to find their way and a team that looks completely lost,” Button said, “and to me the Capitals look completely lost.

“They’re 23rd in goals scored, 29th in goals against. Five-on-five, they’re terrible. Their penalty killing is awful. Faceoffs, they're awful. It's not one area of the game they’ve got to clean up; it’s every area of the game. It’s every aspect of their game. You just can’t play like that.”

If the 2-8-1 Capitals were lost a week ago, are they found today at 5-8-1 after their first three-game win streak of the season?

Not exactly.

The Caps had to rally from a late two-goal deficit to beat the Panthers 6-5 in overtime and nearly blew a three-goal lead in their 4-3 win over the Lightning.

But they are making progress in some very key areas, namely special teams.

With power-play goals in six straight games the Caps have improved from 18th in the NHL at 17.9 percent, to fourth at 27.1 percent.