2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals’ system built to last

Adam Oates’ team has no reason to change anything from regular season

The Bruins experienced plenty of chaos in last year’s Eastern Conference quarterfinals, not used to playing the drag-it-out style the Caps started to play. The difference, Hendricks said, between then and now, is he and his teammates aren’t giving opponents the red line, something that leads to more turnovers and more offensive opportunities.

Doing that same thing well for the past 20-plus games has allowed it to become muscle memory for players.

“When you stick to the system throughout the whole season and throughout playoffs, you can just play,” Oleksy said. “You can just react. You don’t have to over-think it.”

It’s much more comfortable than flipping a switch and trying to block every shot. It’s all instinct now for the Caps, who also realize things aren’t exactly like the regular season.

“Obviously the playoffs are a little different: The intensity is a little higher, you’ve got to make sure we stick with it,” center Nicklas Backstrom said. “We have a game plan, we have a system and we got to make sure we follow that.”

It’s the same game plan they had for a long time. And there’s no doubt it has been working. So why change anything?

“We’re a tough team to play against, for anybody,” Oleksy said. “It takes time to learn a new system and things like that and you don’t want to change things going into playoffs. It takes the regular season to perfect it, and I think that showed through the last stretch of the season and into now.”

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