Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/28/12 at 12:04 PM ET
from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,
If there was one word that summed up Washington’s mood it was confidence — something that hasn’t always been the team’s hallmark this season. After eliminating the defending Stanley Cup champions, however, it’s in no short supply these days.
“When I got called up, [the confidence] was building,” goalie Braden Holtby said. “You could see guys were starting to creep out of the doubts and whatnot that they’ve had before. It’s definitely growing. Hopefully it keeps growing. We’re at a good stage right now where we’re a confident group.”
They also were careful to give respect to the Rangers, an opponent they’re meeting in the playoffs for the second straight season and third time in four years. But there’s a twist. The Capitals under Coach Dale Hunter have adopted an opportunistic, defense-first, shot-blocking style that’s not unlike the Rangers’.
“We know that the Rangers won our conference and they were the top team all year,” Hunter said. “They play hard, they block shots, they’ve got good skill up front, a good goalie and their [defensemen] are strong. So we’ll have to be at our best.”
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