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The Caps have a quiet confidence after trading for Kevin Shattenkirk

The Caps have a quiet confidence after trading for Kevin Shattenkirk

NEW YORK—Kevin Shattenkirk did not arrive in time to participate in Tuesday’s morning skate following the Monday night trade, but his presence still was felt in the visitors’ dressing room at Madison Square Garden.

“It’s like there’s a quiet confidence now,” defenseman Karl Alzner explained.

“There have been years when we’ve been really good and we haven’t picked anybody and you’re kinda like, ‘Alright, we still have a good team but it would have been nice to have that little boost.’

“Now,” Alzner added, “it seems like we’ve gotten that. It’s been a quiet confidence this morning. Guys have a little bit more energy, are a little bit giddy in a way, which is kinda funny. It’s a cool thing to be a part of.”

Across the room, veterans Justin Williams and Alex Ovechkin acknowledged that management did its job. And now the pressure is squarely on the players to do theirs.  

“We believe we have an even better team than we had last year,” Williams said.

RELATED: DRIVE FOR THE CUP FUELED DECISION TO TRADE FOR SHATTENKIRK

“But it’s how we respond to it. You have to embrace the pressure on yourself. Because after [the trade], we still have to go out and play. It’s not just on paper, it’s how we come together, it’s how we play and how we respond to it.”

Ovechkin said: “Every year we talk about, ‘This is our year, this is our year.’ Enough Talk. It’s time to do something.”

Williams also praised Shattenkirk’s on-ice demeanor.

“I like that he’s got some attitude to him,” said Williams, who faced him often when both played in the Western Conference. “He’s not just an offensive guy that’s going to shy away when it gets tough. Yes, he’s good offensively. But he doesn’t back down, and that’s what I like.”

Although the overwhelming mood was one of excitement, there are a few players who know Shattenkirk’s arrival means less ice time. Or even no ice time.

Against the Rangers, Nate Schmidt is expected to play alongside Shattenkirk.

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEWEST CAP KEVIN SHATTENKIRK

But Schmidt also knows that when Brooks Orpik is ready to return from injury, there are no guarantees. 

“For the team, this is a great move,” Schmidt said. “You can’t be more happy for what our guys got in return. You got a heckuva player. What more can you ask for in a trade that brings in a player of his magnitude? Personally, it’s tough. But this is good for the team. This is a good for us in the long run.”

Coach Barry Trotz, meanwhile, said the chance to add a player of Shattenkirk’s ability was simply too good to pass up given the sense of urgency the Caps feel this season.

“Obviously we gave up a real good player and some picks,” Trotz said, referring to prospect Zach Zanford. “But at the same time, we’re getting a real good player. You don’t want to have an opportunity go by, where you think that you could have made a difference. [General Manager Brian MacLellan] is doing everything he can to see if he can make a difference for us.”

RELATED: UPDATED NHL POWER RANKINGS

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How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

Things did not look good for the Capitals after two games.

Facing a 0-2 series hole after losing both games in Washington, it looked like it could be an early summer. The Caps were going to be the first team to ever lose a series in the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

HOW DID THE CAPS WIN THEIR SERIES AGAINST COLUMBUS? FIND OUT HERE

But the Caps rallied.

Washington won the next four games and turned what looked like it would be another postseason disaster into a postseason triumph.

Only once in franchise history had the Caps rallied from a 0-2 deficit and only once had the Caps won four straight games to win a series. They managed both against the Blue Jackets.

Here's how the Caps were able to rally to a first-round victory over Columbus.

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NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Capitals vs. Penguins schedule, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Capitals vs. Penguins schedule, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

The Capitals and Penguins face off in the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference semifinals, marking the third consecutive season the two Metro Division rivals have met in the playoffs.

The Capitals have beaten the Penguins in a playoff series just once in ten attempts dating back to 1991, and all five of the Penguins' Stanley Cup Championships included series wins over Washington.

The Capitals and Penguins split the regular-season series 2-2, with both teams picking up wins at home and on the road. The Capitals outscored the Penguins 13-12 over the course of the four regular-season games. 

The Capitals vs. Penguins 2018 NHL Playoff series will begin on Thursday, April 24 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. E.T.

Pregame coverage of the Capitals vs. Penguins on NBC Sports Washington begins an hour before puck-drop with Caps FaceOff, followed by Caps GameTime.

Caps Extra follows each playoff game with Caps OverTime after that. 

Stream Pre- and postgame coverage of Capitals vs. Penguins Game 1 on NBC Sports Washington.

Game 2 information has yet to be released.

CAPITALS vs. PENGUINS 2018 NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 1: Penguins at Capitals
Date: Thursday, April 26
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 2: Penguins at Capitals
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 3: Capitals at Penguins
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Penn.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 4: Capitals at Penguins
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Penn.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 5 (If Necessary): Penguins at Capitals
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 6 (If Necessary): Capitals at Penguins
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Penn.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 7 (If necessary): Penguins at Capitals
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)