While the Capitals know Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden is an important opportunity for them to regain firm control of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, they don’t want to get caught up magnifying one game more than another.
For what it’s worth, though, according to the Elias Sports Bureau teams that have won Game 4 in a seven-game series have gone on to win the round 78.3 percent of the time (439-122).
“You know what, I don’t wanna sound like [Vancouver Canucks Coach] Alain Vigneault, but every game has got its own different entity and it’s a really important game [Wednesday] and it’s one game at a time,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “If we win we’re up 3-1, if we lose, we’re in the middle of a series where we got two out of three coming home. But I don’t even wanna talk about the negative portion of it ’cause we’re going in there to work our rear end off and win.”
Earlier this week, colleague Tarik El-Bashir wrote about the miscues from Game 3 that Washington needs to correct sooner than later. But in that column he added sentiment that many of the players have since reiterated – no one necessarily expected the Capitals to dispatch the Rangers in a tidy four games.
The Capitals admitted that they were outworked this past Saturday, but they don’t believe it will snowball into a trend and they are determined to prohibit that outcome.
“They were a desperate hockey team and we didn’t match their work ethic and their enthusiasm,” Matt Bradley said. “There’s really no excuse for it, but it was one game. It’s not like we played a bad game; we just didn’t play as well as we needed to. I think we’ll be ready for Wednesday.”
Washington wants to ramp up its discipline and physical play but it isn’t seeking to drastically overhaul its game-plan or make sweeping adjustments in preparation for Game 4, either.
“I think it’s more mental,” Karl Alzner said when asked what tweaks the Capitals might make. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with our system or anything. We’re doing a good job. I think last night they just outworked us a little bit and we took way too many penalties. We definitely can’t be doing that. We can understand the hard working penalties, but we took a few that were from behind. We just can’t do that.”