No matter what they’ve faced throughout these playoffs, the Capitals’ mood in practices or pregame skates has been light and loose. Even before Game 7 against Boston in the first round, the dressing room was loud with players cracking jokes among themselves and chirping reporters.
Following Wednesday’s morning skate, though, the Capitals had a more serious and reserved demeanor heading into Game 6 and facing elimination against New York.
“You don’t want season to start over for next year and you don’t want season be ended tonight,” Alex Ovechkin said. It is “gonna be do or die. Right now everybody knows and everybody understands we just can’t go home right now.”
The Capitals have proved several times in the postseason that they are able to forget about losses and move forward. They’ve yet to lose consecutive games in the playoffs and they’ve played their most consistent hockey of the season in the playoffs as well.
Now is the time to trust in what got them to this point and try to force a Game 7 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
“It’s more serious today,” Karl Alzner said. “Everybody, we realize how important this is and we’re making sure everybody’s on. It’s a do-or-die game for us, so we’re all pretty intense. Obviously we want to do and not die, so we’re ready for it.”
Asked about his team’s demeanor, Coach Dale Hunter said that these situations are the ones that players relish – high pressure and all.
“We know what’s at stake,” Hunter said. “You don’t have to say much; you’ve got to go out there and play your game. Nothing better [than] being under pressure. That’s the best part of it.”