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Capitals Locker Room: Backstrom Felt Nerves, Huge Weight Lifted Off Team’s Shoulders

The Washington Capitals got a huge win over the Pittsburgh Penguins that made the team feel a sense of euphoria. Here’s what Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin & more had to say.



WASHINGTON — A lot was on the line for the Washington Capitals going into Thursday's tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins. They knew it'd be the biggest game of the season yet, and that they'd have to be ready. They delivered — and then some.

Washington dominated for the majority of the night, piling on 45 shots and relentlessly attacking the net while sustaining pressure and tilting the ice. And though two game-tying goals led to overtime, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom played hero en route to a huge 3-2 shootout win over the Penguins, moving them to the first Wild Card spot.

With that victory comes a huge weight lifted off the team's shoulders. Here's what they had to say about it:

Nicklas Backstrom

On the magnitude of the win: "It was big, I think. It's always these kind of games against Pittsburgh. It's fun games to play because there's a lot of emotion out there. It was actually a great hockey game I think overall. We started off really good and they came back in the second. It was a tight game."

On getting back in the shootout: "It's always good to get a chance to do the shootout and obviously nice to get a win, too. That's all that matters. Yeah, keep grinding."

On nerves being the third shooter: "A little bit. (grins) It felt good, though."

On simplifying things: "I think we did. I felt like we played with more intensity and we were hungrier on the puck and we simplified, too. We kept it pretty simple in the first period and got everyone involved and worked from there."

Alex Ovechkin

On the important victory from standings standpoint: "Huge game, huge two points. I think we all knew we have to come out strong and try to get a lead. We knew we get a lead, it's kind of different feelings and everybody feels much better."

On not getting frustrated in second where multiple chances didn't drop: "Sometimes, that kind of shit happen and you just have to dig in and try to get another chance."

On why Alexander Semin was at the game: "Ask him. I'm not gonna say it. (Joking) He's gonna find a job here."

Marcus Johansson

On Capitals getting back to their brand of hockey with a win: "Yeah definitely. It was two big points, want to get back to our winning ways here and rack up some wins and I feel like we had a good game tonight. We came out playing the right way and kind of set the tone and then the big saves and the big shootout goals which led to win, which is what we need."

Darcy Kuemper

On being a fan of the shootout: "When you win, yeah. When it goes well, it feels great, and if you don't get the job done, obviously it doesn't. Tonight I'm happy about it. It was nice to get the extra point."

On the value of this win: "It was a huge two points for us, that's not really a secret. We knew how big this game was coming into it. It took us the stretch, but these games feel really good when you get the job done. We played super hard, and we earned it tonight."

On this being one of the best efforts of the year: "Yeah, especially that was probably our best start we've had all year. Guys were ready to go, and I think that's a credit to the experience in this room knowing how big of a game it is and being ready to go. That set us up for the rest of the game. They're a good team, too. They pushed us right to the stretch, but we were able to get it done.

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