Different year. Different team. Different time. More importantly different players.
Game 5 against the Canadiens last season was the first step toward a seven-game collapse for the Capitals. But that’s what they got Jason Arnott and Scott Hannan for.
“It’s not going to be up to me, that’s for sure. It’s a team thing,” Arnott said. “And I think for the most part – the guys in here and myself – we got to just put that in the past. It’s just done and over with. We got to think about moving forward.”
And while Arnott is right that he won’t singlehandedly be able to beat the Rangers on Saturday afternoon and clinch a spot in the second round, he has helped change the tone around the locker room – “When he stands up and says something, guys listen,” John Erskine said.
So while many Caps bear the scars of last season, Arnott and Hannan don’t.
“They can’t be worried about last year or the year before that,” Arnott said. “They got to think about this year and the team we have to try and win [Saturday].”
Being playoff-tested is something Hannan is all about. The rugged defenseman understands that this time of year, a closer’s mentality is necessary.
“You gotta win the last one,” he said. “It’s not what happens in the first few games, it’s what happens in the last one.”