The defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins are one loss away from the golf course, but the Washington Capitals understand Sunday’s Game 6 will be far from easy.
“The fourth one’s the hardest one to win, no matter what,” forward Matt Hendricks said.
Adrenaline is sure to be pumping at Verizon Center, which is what the Caps want. Just not too much.
“What we really have to do is not get too much adrenaline flowing through us because that tires a person out,” goaltender Braden Holtby said. “Obviously back-to-back games, that can affect you. Our goal is to keep our heads level and do those things that make us successful and play a very strong team game.”
The Bruins faced elimination just once during their Cup run last spring, though that game in Game 6 of the final. Asked what attitude his team had to have, Claude Julien was blunt.
“The right attitude” the Bruins’ coach said. “I think we’ve been through this before. … There’s a team trying to move to the next round and we’ve got a team trying to survive. We’re the team trying to survive right now and create another day, so that’s where our focus has got to be.”
As for the Caps’ focus, it’s not on wrapping up the series.
“It might sound weird to you guys, but we got to see the trees before the forest,” forward Brooks Laich said. “You can’t worry about that the series is on the line or that sort of stuff. Keep your mind focused on the game and just trying to win the hockey game and then we’ll see what happens after that.”
The recipe for trying to deliver the final dagger to the Bruins sounds simple.
“I think we’ve got to score the first goal again, we’ve got to come out hard and try to put a little bit of doubt in their mind,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “I know it’s not going to be easy being the team that they are and their history, at least. Score that first goal and just keep coming. You can’t show that you’re going to be tired because every single guy in this series is going to be tired.”
Rest can come Monday, especially if the Caps can close it out.