NHL playoffs

Washington Capitals seek a different ending

After being upset in seven games by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2010 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Washington Capitals were stunned. Here's what the Capitals believe they've learned about succeeding in the playoffs after last year's stinging defeat.

Know that boring can be good

Alex Ovechkin

Since Coach Bruce Boudreau arrived early in the 2007-08 season, the Capitals have been known as an offensive juggernaut, with star players waiting to fill up the stats sheet. In the midst of the December losing streak, though, Boudreau changed all that. The players' attitude became, if they could depend on a stalwart defensive performance it wouldn't matter if they scored seven goals or one. Holding an opponent to few or no goals became a point of pride.

"We've learned that we can't just play fancy all the time," center Nicklas Backstrom said. "If you want to win you have to play a little bit of a boring game, and get good at it. You have to get it deep, can't allow any turnovers."

While it might be a little less glamorous, neither Backstrom nor Alex Ovechkin objects to the altered style as long as it produces the desired results.

"We have all talked about the system in the locker room and everybody's committed to that to be successful," Backstrom said. "We're a good forechecking club, when we get the puck deep and work hard we're hard to stop. Winning that way is just as good."

"If it's good for team, I will do it," Ovechkin said bluntly.

By Katie Carrera - The Washington Post. Published April 13, 2011.