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Posted at 06:17 PM ET, 04/20/2012

Jay Beagle’s playoff diary: Team dinner and a cribbage tourney


(Evan Vucci - AP)

Capitals center Jay Beagle is keeping a playoff diary as Washington makes its way through the postseason. Here are his thoughts on the eve of Game 5, as told by phone to The Post’s Greg Schimmel:

Boston, Friday, 4:30 p.m.

We just got back into Boston a little while ago and momentum is definitely in our favor right now. Game 4 was huge because 2-2 is obviously a lot better than going down 3-1, because then you’re forced to play real desperation hockey.

It was definitely a loss to have a guy like Backstrom out of the lineup for Game 4, but we found a way to win without him. Guys like Matty Perreault stepped up big. When a key guy is out you need other guys to pick it up and play better. And obviously Holtby played great again.

It’s been a team game for us so far, really relying on everybody every shift. I think everybody’s been playing well, not just a couple guys, and that’s the only way you’re going to win in the playoffs.

It’s pretty crazy having back-to-back games in two different cities over the weekend. We’re hoping it’ll be a night game Sunday. It doesn’t benefit one team either way, but going city to city, it’s better if you have a later game the second day.

I packed pretty light for this short trip but I still packed an extra pair of everything. I always like to have an extra dress shirt just in case I spill when I’m eating pasta or something. But all I’ve got are socks, an extra pair of underwear, an extra shirt and my kit bag with my toothbrush and everything and that’s about it.

We were bugging Perry about his one-day bag because it’s hilarious what he brings. He’s got this little bag that has a Caps logo on it and it’s almost like a grocery bag or a beach bag. It doesn’t even close. I don’t know where he got it but it looks like he’s about to go grocery shopping or something.

We’ve got a team meal going on tonight. Those are always a lot of fun. It’s always good to go out with all the guys and have some laughs so that’s always something I look forward to.

We’ve also got an intense cribbage tournament going on too, so maybe we’ll get a couple games in after dinner. It’s Perry and Carly [John Carlson] against Karl [Alzner] and me. We try to get in a three or five-game series. We usually don’t have enough time to play seven.

Looking ahead to Game 5, obviously the games keep getting bigger every game you play. Every game you go into now is the biggest game of your career, especially for me since it’s the first playoff series I’ve really been a part of. You just try to keep elevating your game.

It’s big to have Backstrom back. He’s one of our most skilled players. To get him back in the lineup is only going to help us. It’s only going to make us stronger.

— April 18: Taking a much-needed extra day off
— April 15: Resting up after a big win in Boston
— April 13: What it’s like to get scored on in overtime
— April 11: Dinner in Boston and an early night ahead

By Jay Beagle  |  06:17 PM ET, 04/20/2012

Tags:  Playoff diary

 
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