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“Playing down to the opponent,” in losing twice to CBJ and LAK?  Flopping against Colorado?  Not today.

In a matinée in Boston, this Washington Capitals team showed character, skill, and a few enormously important keys to making a deep playoff run.

Alex Semin taking those cheating, reaching penalties?  Fughedaboutit.  Three penalties drawn, and only one taken.  And a questionable trip on Chara at that — nowhere touching the legs of the hurculean Z-Man as far as these HDTV-viewing eyes could tell. An outstanding game from #28!

Aside from this affair, Gabby calls his work ethic “much improved.”  So there, Semin skeptics.  He laid off the stick reach when tempted to do so, and spun his wheels to draw the calls against.

Otherwise, the team displayed a necessary discipline which I have no doubt will continue into the playoffs:  only four penalties against, including both that questionable call on Semin and an interference whistle on Laich.

Re:  the latter — who had the lane first?  Laich turned his head for a brief moment, but otherwise, fair call?

Backstrom slashing in the 3rd is a rare occurrence not to be oft-repeated.

Hey, at least no over the glass calls, eh?

And not to mention Semin’s game-winner — a rising, unblemished shot from beyond the blue line that recalled the memory of Yzerman’s long-range blast past Jon Casey in game seven of the 1996 playoffs long, long ago.

Harbinger.

José Théodore, by strong contrast, gave me another indication of how a closely-fought playoff series, as these games vs. the Bruins have exemplified, might play out.  Sure, he way over-committed on one two-on-one play in tight, but shone brilliantly in several fantastic game-savers.  And got the win.

On to Florida, where a seventeen point lead over the division might soon be achieved.

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