For the number of ups and downs the Capitals have experienced throughout the season, and for dealing with the frustration of playing well one period and letting up on the gas the next, the players know that if they can find a way to put it all together none of it will matter.

So the question turns to how do they manage to assemble things simultaneously, and who leads the charge?

In talking about how to minimize or eliminate the fluctuating level of play Thursday, Nicklas Backstrom said some of the burden must fall on his and the Capitals' other star players shoulders.

"I think that comes from me, myself and a couple other players," Backstrom said. "At the beginning of a period, game we have to get some shifts in the other team's zone, get things going. I think if we do that then everybody follows. We haven't been doing that too much and that's why this happens. It's a little bit frustrating too. You're always trying to do your best out there [and give] 100 percent, but sometimes it doesn't go your way and it's frustrating."