The Washington Capitals have seen a third-period lead go by the boards in each of their last three games, resulting in a trio of losses for the team and likely a few sleepless nights for coach Todd Reirden.
The Capitals aim to snap their winless skid (0-1-2) and avenge an overtime loss to the Stars earlier in the week when the teams reconvene in Dallas on Saturday night.
"It's happened in a couple of different ways where momentum is being turned in the opposition's favor, but it's really from us," Reirden told reporters of Washington's third-period troubles following Thursday's 6-5 setback in Nashville.
"The play with the puck when you have the lead is not giving ourselves a chance to have success, and in turn we're giving up way too many chances. A lot of failure to execute; that's coming out of (defensive) zone, or breakouts or just certain plays where we're not sharp, and it's ending up in the back of our net."
Reirden wasn't alone in his assessment.
"We're too good to make (those) mistakes," said captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored a pair of power-play goals versus the Predators.
"We talked about it before the third period. We have to manage the puck right. You can see we make the turnover, make the mistakes, and it cost us again. Two points."
Nicklas Backstrom was more succinct about the Capitals' performance after his 900th career game.
"It's time for us to put together a 60-minute effort here. You can't win hockey games with only one period here and there. That's not acceptable," said the 31-year-old Swede.
A third-period letdown was also evident in Washington's 4-3 overtime loss to Dallas on Tuesday, with Stars forwards Alexander Radulov and Nick Caamano scoring in a 4:10 stretch before Backstrom's goal with 31 seconds remaining helped push the game past regulation.
Tyler Seguin converted an odd-man rush for the winning goal 43 seconds into overtime for the Stars, who own a gaudy 13-1-3 record in their last 17 meetings with Washington.
Like the Capitals, Dallas played in its fifth straight one-goal game to begin the season following Thursday's 3-2 shootout loss to Calgary.
And like Washington, the Stars squandered a third-period lead -- a two-goal advantage, in fact -- before falling for the fourth time in five games on Thursday.
Radulov, who set up Seguin's overtime goal versus the Capitals, was unable to convert on a penalty shot late in overtime against the Flames.
"There's positives out of this game, but again, we've gotta learn how to manage games," Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said. "That's a game ... that you should close that game out, and that's where we have to get better."
Ben Bishop likely will be back in net versus Washington, against which he turned aside 29 shots on Tuesday to improve to 4-6-2 with a 3.37 goals-against average and .891 save percentage in 13 career starts.
Braden Holtby is look to rebound from a sour performance in Music City when he faces the Stars, against whom he made 22 saves earlier this week. The former Vezina Trophy recipient sports a 2-4-2 mark with a 4.02 goals-against average and .867 save percentage in nine career appearances (eight starts) versus Dallas.
--Field Level Media