(For a full recap of the Washington Capitals’ 3-1 win over the New York Rangers – a win that makes Washington the first Eastern Conference team to make the second round – click here. Consult this video for footage of Mike Green’s scary injury and check out this post for Alex Ovechkin’s outstanding game-winner.)
The Capitals’ profound transformation from a wide-open offense-first system to a team that focuses on all areas 0f the ice qualifies as one of the big stories of the playoffs. People give a lot of credit to head coach Bruce Boudreau’s changes, Alex Ovechkin’s willingness to sacrifice his own stats and the team’s trio of talented young goalies.
Yet one underrated facet of the turnaround is the work of a duo Pierre McGuire calls the best young pair in hockey: John Carlson and Karl Alzner. The two blueliners seem like they’re carrying their AHL success over to the NHL level, even if they aren’t getting the spotlight. (Then again, the spotlight is sometimes a bad thing for defensemen.)
McGuire interviews Alzner and Carlson in the video below.