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The Caps didn’t commit a penalty in the game’s final 26 minutes. But by then it was too late. Even with the entire third played without special teams, they were outshot 16-9 and didn’t register one on goal until almost midway through the final period.

By the time the shots came, the lead was gone, and many of them were a furious attempt to come back after Matt Frattin turned the Caps inside out and scored what wound up being the game-winner.

And the end result was the second straight game the Caps blew a second-intermission lead. They had registered points in each of the previous 103 times they led after two.

“We had the lead there and we coughed it up again,” forward Matt Hendricks said. “We need to have that killer instinct, we need to go for that next goal.”

Oates said last week the big question about his team was if it could play a full 60 minutes. Thursday night the Caps showed yet again that they were incapable of doing so without making a plethora of mistakes.

“Once again, it’s details of the game that we need to focus on and put teams away,” Ribeiro said. “It’s 2-1, put teams away. Don’t let them sniff around and let them sniff around and not finish them. I guess that’s the next step is to play a 60-minute game, and when you have a chance to finish teams, finish them.”

When the Caps haven’t been able to do that, they’ve proven all too mortal.