The young guns aren’t so young anymore – Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Alexander Semin are all veterans now thanks to years of playoff experience.
So it was only fitting that three of them scored the Capitals’ goals in the Game 5 clincher Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center.
“When your best players are your best players, the rest of the team just sorta picks up from it and they play accordingly,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “And I thought our best players were our best players [Saturday].”
Green got the Caps going with a major goal on the power play at the 5:59 mark. It wasn’t a prototypical Green power-play goal (a blast from the point), but it got the job done.
Matt Hendricks said it “set the tone.”
“It was a big goal. I think we kept playing the same way as we did the third period last game,” Backstrom said. “It was good – we were finishing [our] checks and everything. That’s what you have to do if you’re gonna win against good team like Rangers.”
And, of course, getting contributions from the big guns doesn’t hurt. So Ovechkin scored a goal that Caps fans are used to seeing out of him. Skating down the right wing, he went around Rangers defenseman Marc Staal before lifting a back-hander over Henrik Lundqvist.
“I think I have pretty good speed over there and [Scott Hannan] give me nice pass and so I just do what I have to do to score goals,” Ovechkin said. “It’s my job.”
Semin, too. He added goal No. 3 late to provide some insurance. It was his third of the series.
Teammates sure hope that kind of production from the stars keeps up in the second round and beyond.
“That is what we need. I’m happy about that, I think everybody is – especially those guys,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “It’s nice to see them score. And they’re our best players and the reason why we do so well in the regular season is because they come to play so often and they’re scoring these huge goals for us. We’re gonna need ’em if we have any hope of going all the way here.”