You know things are grim for the Canadiens when the loudest cheers for them at the Bell Centre are derisive ones.

A loud, sustained cheer erupted at 12:44 of the second period Saturday night when Daniel Brière simply unleashed a wrist shot at the Washington Capitals net. It was the Canadiens’ first shot on goal in the second period and only their fourth in the game at that point.

The Canadiens’ tiny shot tally at that juncture goes a long way toward explaining their dismal 5-0 loss to the Capitals. Taking 10 penalties didn’t help, either. Neither side was able to capitalize with the man advantage — not that it mattered for the Capitals, who scored five even-strength goals.

The Canadiens held a meeting after the game and when the doors to the dressing room finally opened to the media all the players were there. Coach Michel Therrien confirmed it was management’s decision to make them all available to the media.

“Obviously, we’re not playing good hockey and we need to find a way to turn things around.” captain Brian Gionta said.

“We had three shots through almost the whole second period. Forty minutes of play, we have three shots. We’re off our game. We’ve got to find a way to keep supporting each other and find a way out of this.”

When asked about the sarcastic cheer in the second period, Gionta said: “No one in this room is happy the way things have been going the last couple of games.

“There’s no one outside this room that cares more than anyone in this room. So we’re trying to figure things out and we’ll be a better team for it in the end.”

When it was put to Gionta by a reporter that some people were starting to wonder whether the players still want to play for Therrien, the captain said: “No, that has nothing to do with it.”

The Capitals outshot the Canadiens 12-3 in the first period, but it was the second period that was especially brutal for the Habs. The Capitals scored four even-strength goals, while the Canadiens had difficulty mustering shots on goals. Goaltender Carey Price was pulled after the Capitals’ fourth goal with backup Peter Budaj replacing him for the second time in three games. However, Price can’t be blamed for the Canadiens’ loss.

There’s “nothing good to take from that game,” Therrien said afterward.

“We’re going to move on. We’re facing adversity and we all know this,” the coach said, noting all teams face it, as do players through the course of their careers.

“It’s how we’re going to react facing adversity.”

The Canadiens have lost four games in a row and are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. The team is struggling defensively and has given up four or more goals in their last six games. But their problems stretch back farther than that. The last time the Habs posted back-to-back wins in regulation was Dec. 5 and 7.