By the time Game 7 rolls around in a hard-fought series, few secrets remain between the two teams. Game plans and tendencies grow familiar, while wear and tear becomes apparent on both sides.
In the days leading up to this winner-take-all contest, several Capitals have talked about making sure they leave a physical impression on Boston and about which players they’ve noticed fighting through injuries. Karl Alzner talked about how the Capitals pick up on who might be a liability.
“You can tell by the way they play and where they go on the ice and where they don’t go on the ice and if they’re rushing off or if they’re on the play. You can definitely tell,” Karl Alzner said. “You’ve just got to — it’s like we said at the beginning of the series — you plant the seed. If it’s mentally with hitting them or getting in their face, or if it’s dumping the puck in every single time, then they start to know — and that’s when you start to take advantage.”
While some injuries are readily apparent — Patrice Bergeron is dealing with an upper-body ailment that likely will prevent him from taking faceoffs again in Game 7, Joe Corvo missed Game 6 after taking a puck off the leg — others are less visible. Alzner said the Capitals have discussed who they think is hurting and how to put extra pressure on the Bruins in this contest.
“There’s a couple guys I know — and we talked about it — that they’re cheating,” Alzner said. “You can see where they’re cheating, and we’re waiting to for an opportunity to take advantage of it, and you’ve got to wait for that chance. It’s not always there, but sometimes it is, and it’s a fatigue thing. Hopefully you take advantage of it the next game.”
Alzner suggested that Washington will try to ramp up its physical game in Game 7 in hopes of deterring some of the Bruins’ top-tier forwards, who appeared to wake up in Game 6, from emerging offensively once more.
“I think if we pick up that physical game a little bit, maybe we can get them out of that and make them shy away a little bit,” Alzner said. “It’s tough. They’re all extremely good, but you’ve got to try something to keep them quiet.”