Originally written on Sportaholics Anonymous  |  Last updated 10/22/14
These Washington Capitals are different.

Each of the last three years, the Capitals have rolled through the regular season, collecting three Southeast division titles, two # 1 seeds, and one President's Trophy.  And what do they have to show for their regular season dominance?

  • Two Game 7 losses on home ice. 
  • One blown 3-1 series lead. 
  • Zero appearances beyond the Conference Semifinals. 

Those Capitals teams, coached by Bruce Boudreau, were a powerhouse on offense but a liability on defense.  The defensive deficiency was hidden during the regular season, but exposed during the postseason.  And it kept the Capitals from realizing the ultimate goal.

Boudreau's system was ineffective during the postseason, and his message fell on deaf ears when he tried to alter it.  He was fired during the season, haunted by his lack of playoff success.  Boudreau was replaced by Dale Hunter, and the Capitals legend immediately implemented his own system:

  • Responsibility in the Defensive Zone. 
  • "Trap" in the Neutral Zone. 
  • Aggressive fore check. 
  • "Cycle" in the Offensive Zone.  
  • Traffic in front of the opponent's goalie. 

That sounds like a pretty good recipe for the playoffs. 

Now it's time for the Washington Capitals to taste playoff success.

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