During the interim, though, the Capitals struggled (going 0-3-1 between the bookend wins) and questions arose about how much time the 56-year-old bench boss might have to mold this team for a lengthy playoff run.

Monday’s victory was a much needed one in the sense that it lightened the mood around the Capitals and lessened any mounting pressure for change. Asked the day after the important win what he makes of all the speculation, Boudreau simply said he can’t let it affect him.

“All I can do is come out and coach every day and work my heart out and let the chips fall where they may,” Boudreau said. “I can’t control anybody else. I try not to listen to it or let it bother me and just go out and do my job and take it from there.”

Players know that team struggles can prompt change, but those are thoughts they try to distance themselves from – if they think about it at all.

“I think stuff like that is always in the back of your mind but you try not to think about it,” Dennis Wideman said. “We can’t worry about that, we just know that we have to win. If we’re winning, then everybody’s happy, things stay the same no one gets fired no one gets traded.

“That’s not something that you’re thinking about every day, though,” he continued. “You can’t think that way or you’re going to play terribly. You have to think about getting ready, playing the next game and playing your best.”