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Holtby proceeded to stop all 29 shots he faced the rest of the game, and the Capitals’ offense matched that production in Washington’s 3-1 win. It was a promising start to Holtby’s second career playoff appearance and an extension of how well he played during the Capitals’ late-season run to the Southeast Division championship.
After a victory late in the regular season that included two goals by Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom was asked if it felt like the "good old days" when the franchise cornerstones powered a high-scoring team. "It depends how it is in the playoffs," he said. "And we weren't that successful in the playoffs in the past."
The Capitals' reputation as a team that can't get it done in the playoffs is well-established. Here's a look at how each playoff exit happened, with some help from ex-coach Bruce Boudreau.
Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Kane are as good as hockey players get. Their teammates are pretty good, too.
"Obviously, we have a little bit of history with them," right wing Eric Fehr said. "We've played them a number of times. It's going to be a man's series, no question. They've got a lot of big guys, and they like to play physical. It's a good challenge for us."
Scoring his 11th and 12th goals of the season, the defenseman reminded everyone of his value to the Washington Capitals in Saturday night's 3-2 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins.
Holtby will start the regular-season finale against the Boston Bruins as he and the Caps get into playoff pattern.
All Thursday night Washington Capitals players exchanged words and shoves with Ottawa Senators agitator Chris Neil, who got under their skin during a 2-1 overtime loss to the Senators.
In 205 days, three of the area's four teams in the major professional sports leagues won division titles. It's a start. Let's be clear on something, though: It is hardly a finish.