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Rinne was brilliant all night, finishing with 39 saves. But when the Caps finally solved him, they figured it could be enough.

“One or two goals are hard to come by when you play him,” Brouwer said. “So when you’re able to score a goal and get a lead, you’ve got to be able to protect it. And obviously we protected it for about 15 seconds, and that just wasn’t good enough.”

Said Vokoun: “You get a 1-0 lead five minutes left in the game or whatever, you can’t give up plays like that. I really don’t know what to say. It happened five minutes ago, and I’m still stunned.”

Stunned almost-silence was the theme throughout the Caps room after this one. Boudreau lamented getting 40 shots against a stingy Nashville team and not coming away with a victory.

After breaking through, the Caps looked as if they would escape from Bridgestone Arena with two points. Once they coughed up the lead, Boudreau was just hoping for overtime.

But the game kept unfurling on the Capitals and left them with nothing in the first game of the road trip.

“It was hard to take because we worked so hard,” Boudreau said. “We’ll have to regroup tomorrow and get ready for Winnipeg.”