While Game 7s are a pressure-packed, high-stakes situation under any circumstances, if there’s one thing the Capitals aren’t worried about heading into Wednesday’s tilt it is that they will be on the road.
Washington has already won twice at TD Garden in this series, and the team won both games there in the regular season as well. While the Capitals know it won’t be an easy task to clinch the series in Boston against the defending Stanley Cup champions, they aren’t intimidated by the challenge.
“You feel you can come in there, your team feels good. I think that’s all you could ask for going into Game 7, is that your team feels like they belong there,” Mike Knuble said. “And if we just do what we’ve been doing, we can win, and I think that’s a good feeling. I think some teams go into Game 7 on the road and feel like the ice is already tilted right from your first shift, and I don’t think we feel that way at all.”
“We feel like we’re dead even,” Knuble continued. “And you could play this game in St. Louis, you could play it in the middle of the United States, in Nebraska, and it would be an even game. Doesn’t matter home ice or anything.”
Given how tight this first-round series has been, Coach Dale Hunter and a few players suggested that being on the road without the weight of having to impress the home crowd could be an advantage — or at least something that allows them to focus on playing a simple game and adhering to their defensive system.
“Obviously Boston’s a tough rink to play in, but I think it suits our team well because it brings us down to a level where we don’t try to do too much,” goaltender Braden Holtby said. “We don’t try to be too fancy. I think we’ve been guilty of that in front of our home crowd a bit, letting our emotions get to us with the noise of the crowd and whatnot, and I think playing on the road really helps us.”