It was bad enough the Capitals were playing their second game in less than 23 hours against a New York Rangers team that was in D.C. before the Caps even finished their game on Long Island the day before.

But for the second time in as many days the Capitals’ undisciplined play cost them two valuable points in the Eastern Conference standings.

Back-to-back penalties to Alex Ovechkin midway through the second period resulted in goals by Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan just 41 seconds apart, sending the Rangers to a 4-1 win on Sunday at VerizonCenter, their fifth in six games.

The loss gave the Caps their first back-to-back defeats since Feb. 17 and 21 and left them with a 10-13-1 mark at the halfway point of their season.

“Average,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said when asked to assess his team at the midway point. “I think we can do a lot better. I think we’ve seen signs of what we can be if we do it right. We have to figure out ways to improve.”

It starts with taking fewer penalties and improving on the penalty kill.

The Capitals were locked in a 1-1 tie with the Rangers midway through the game when Ovechkin wrapped his stick around Ryan Callahan in the Capitals’ slot. Ovechkin drew a delayed penalty on the play, but before the referee could blow his whistle Ovechkin took a holding penalty on Ryan McDonagh just before Boyle ripped a shot through a screen and past Braden Holtby.

“To be honest, I know I tripped [Callahan] on the first one because I lost position,” Ovechkin said, “but I don’t know about the second one. Four minutes on one play, I don’t know.”