When the Washington Capitals lost Nicklas Backstrom to injury for most of a season, they were a different team. The elbow to Backstrom’s head from Rene Bourque devastated the team.

So on Monday, when Sabres defenseman Mike Weber went to slam Nicky’s head against the boards (he missed), Caps captain Alex Ovechkin would have none of it.

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Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

After the Capitals’ somewhat easy 4-1 victory over the Eastern Conference’s best team Wednesday, Nicklas Backstrom spoke to Versus’ Pierre McGuire. In explaining the team’s troubles this year, Backstrom said, “I think we haven’t been working hard enough. Everybody has to commit and do their job, and that’s what we haven’t been doing.”

It’s hard to express optimism that the Caps have finally turned the corner, if they can’t string a couple of solid victories together, and — you know — actually turn the corner. Would they bring the energy again in their second match-up in three games against the Buffalo Sabres, a team who has given the Caps fits all year?

You tell me. Photo recap time!

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