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Tim Gleason

Capitals have turned to 'a heavier game'

Capitals have turned to 'a heavier game'

During his time coaching the Nashville Predators, whenever Barry Trotz prepared to face the Washington Capitals, he always marveled at their size but never saw it translate onto the ice. Sure, the Capitals could carve through defenses and pour in goals, but Trotz never believed the Capitals posed a serious physical threat.

"They might mark us up on the score sheet once in a while, but you never came out of the game going, 'Man, that was a real hard game,'" Trotz said. "It was just a skill game."

Those skilled pieces drove the Capitals to six straight playoff appearances between 2008 and 2013, but they never advanced beyond the second round. Now, after a...