It the mascot, stupid.
The Caps are 4-8-7 against clubs this year with "animal" mascots -- Thrashers, Panthers, Bruins, Ducks, Penguins, Coyotes, and Wild (a depiction of a bear's head). They are 0-4-1 against those clubs in their last five games.
The Caps are 19-17-1 against the rest of the league.
For the record, nine of the Caps' remaining 26 games are against these furry and feathered friends.