While the Capitals have their own recent history with Game 7s, their foes are equally familiar.
Boston won three Game 7s en route to its Stanley Cup championship last spring, claiming victories in long series against Montreal in the first round, Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals and Vancouver in the final.
That the majority of the Bruins’ roster endured those situations — and the various pressure and expectations that come along with them — makes it easier for the players to handle tough scenarios without getting rattled now.
“It keeps your heart rate down,” Boston defenseman Andrew Ference said. “That’s probably the biggest thing about playing in a lot of playoff games. In pressure situations, it’s hard to play when your heartbeat isn’t slowing down and you are sweating twice as much. It comes into a factor if you use it the right way. Hopefully we can ride the experience.”
Bruins Coach Claude Julien said even before Game 6 on Sunday that he expected his team to respond well when facing elimination. After all, they’ve done it before and come out on the positive side.
“I think, you know, it goes a long way,” Patrice Bergeron said. “It’s something we’ve been through before, and we just need to stay composed and believe that we can do it and just play to win and keep on our heels and keep doing the right thing.”
That experience is one of the intangible factors that caused many to believe that the Bruins should be favored in this first-round series against Washington. After such a tight series, both sides know that this final contest could go either way just like each of the previous ones.
“Well, I guess that’s what you’d call playoff hockey – really close hockey, and it hasn’t been shootouts like some of the other series, but we’ve managed to be pretty good defensively and so have they,” Gregory Campbell said. “They’ve managed to score and we have as well. It’s a really tight game, a really tight series. Every game has been tight and Game 7 – everybody expects the same thing.”
More on the Capitals:
— Persistence pays off for Tyler Seguin
— Bruins edge Caps in overtime to force Game 7
— Caps-Bruins playoff shot chart
— Hamilton: Caps, Bruins have Game 7 histories
— Feinstein: Bruins know how lucky they got
— Flyers oust Penguins in Game 6