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New-look Capitals use defense to get to 2nd round

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) celebrates with teammate Alex Ovechkin after the Capitals' 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins in overtime in Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Boston on Wednesday, April 25, 2012.
Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) celebrates with teammate Alex Ovechkin after the Capitals' 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins in overtime in Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Boston on Wednesday, April 25, 2012.
Charles Krupa, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — This hardly is the way Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals were expected to succeed when this roster was being put together.

Doesn't matter one bit, of course.

After year upon year of underachieving in the postseason, the seventh-seeded Capitals finally are overachievers: They're headed to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs after getting past the Boston Bruins in seven one-goal games, the first time in franchise history the Capitals eliminated the reigning champions.

What's changed is that Washington no longer relies on Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom and other scorers to carry them. Adopting new coach Dale Hunter's defense-first strategy, and with Ovechkin spending plenty of time on the bench, the Capitals are winning ugly.