The playoff failures of the Washington Capitals rarely come with silver linings anymore, but there was one positive to come out of this year’s postseason as a vocal leader emerged from the within the locker room.

No, it wasn’t the captain, Alex Ovechkin, who seems to have more of a “lead by example” type of personality. Instead, it was the soft-spoken, oft overlooked and overshadowed Nicklas Backstrom who took up the mantle.

“It's not very often, but when something needs to be said, Nick does a good job standing up and saying it and people listen,” T.J. Oshie said.

Plenty needed be said in Washington’s second round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. When the Caps lost both Games 1 and 2 at home to start the series, it was Backstrom who spoke up in a team meeting following Game 2. When the Caps fell into a 3-1 series hole, it was Backstroim who backed up his words and carried the team to a Game 7.

“We laid an egg in Game 4, I mean absolutely laid an egg when we should have been just chomping at the bit to come back here 2-2,” Matt Niskanen said. “And since then, Games 5 and 6, [Backstrom was the] most dominant player in the series. Just stepped up his game, dominated. I thought he showed a ton of character there. … That guy laid it on the line and that's what you need to see from your top players and he was fantastic.”

Backstrom finished the series with seven points in seven games, including three in Games 5 and 6 to help Washington force a Game 7.