"We're a grinding team now. Our identity has kind of flipped. We try not to give up much defensively, keep pucks out of the middle and along the boards, and we've been successful with that," forward Brooks Laich said. "Talking to friends and family, they're sitting at home, biting their nails and pulling their hair out. They're just dying for a 4-0 or 5-0 win. But I keep telling them those days are gone a little bit."
Indeed, the Capitals entered Saturday second in the postseason in blocked shots, behind only the Rangers, and the hosts compiled a 26-7 edge in that stat.
"The guys are committed," said Hunter, who replaced the fired Bruce Boudreau in November.
The beneficiary was Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, who only needed to make 18 saves and didn't need to turn away a shot until nearly 5½ minutes into the game. By then, Washington had taken seven shots.
At the end of the first period, the Capitals had a 14-3 edge in shots. The final tally was 26-20 in Washington's favor.
The biggest, of course, came off the stick of Green, who missed 50 games this season because of a right ankle injury, then abdominal surgery.
"Before he was injured a lot," Backstrom noted, "we used to see that all the time."
NOTES: The Capitals are 6-1 this postseason when scoring first. ... Ovechkin's goal was his 29th in the NHL playoffs, moving him one away from Peter Bondra's team record.
Howard Fendrich can be reached at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich