This isn't talking about all fans, but it is definitely a very large number...
The game started and the Caps came on strong. The crowd cheered during big shots and stopped cheering on defense. The Caps scored to take a 1-0 lead and the crowd went crazy for about a minute. Then the Verizon Center went back to sounding like a library. Then all of a sudden the Caps were down 3-2 and the crowd basically stayed in silent mode and had some meaningful conversations about their weekend plans, the same way they were when leading, and when tied. Finally with around 2 minutes left when the Caps tied the game at 3, the crowd turned into an advantage.
I watched the Winnipeg vs Sabres game last night, and Winnipeg sounded like it was game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The crowd stayed loud almost the entire game. That crowd was excited to be playing meaningful hockey. Our fans are bitter because we aren't in first place.
I went to a game at Verizon during the 7-0 start and it was a playoff atmosphere. It was a home ice advantage. Later I went to a game when the Caps were struggling and it was dead quiet. People were chatting instead of watching the game. The same way they do at Wizards games and Nats games. I was told the Verizon crowd was one of the best in the NHL. Definitely not this season. There is no energy in that arena.
Maybe it is correlated to the effort the players put out there, but a lot of it is the DC mentality. Playing at Verizon is not a home ice advantage unless the team is in 1st place or until the crowd starts paying attention in the last 5 minutes. It really was pathetic for a team fighting for their playoff lives.
Obviously this does not apply to everyone in the stands. Many people are going crazy the whole game. Many people are great fans. However at this point in time, these great fans are outnumbered.
Locker made a few comments about the crowd being dead, and finally at 2:00 left in the game Locker says "now the fans are into it"...why not the whole game?