WASHINGTON — Back a few seasons ago, when Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green were helping the Washington Capitals finally start to emerge from years of rebuilding with a go-go, attacking style, the team promoted its high-scoring core group with the slogan “Young Guns.”
These days, the Capitals are succeeding in the playoffs with a more conservative, defensive-minded style – and it still never hurts when the stars put the puck in the net.
Defenseman Green’s slap shot on a power play with 5:48 left in regulation was the go-ahead goal, and Ovechkin and Backstrom added goals, lifting the Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the top-seeded New York Rangers that tied their Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.
When the bygone marketing tag was mentioned in the loud Capitals locker room afterward, the 26-year-old Green repeated the reporter’s words, saying with a wry smirk: “’Young Guns’? Not so young anymore. But we needed to step up.”
According to STATS LLC, it was the 13th time in their Capitals careers – all were first-round draft picks – that Ovechkin, Backstrom and Green scored in the same game, but first in any postseason. Washington’s record in those games? Not surprisingly, 13-0. That trio last tallied together on Oct. 30, 2010, STATS said.
“People have been talking about (how) we need to step up,” said Backstrom. “If you work hard, good things happen to you, somebody told me.”