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For the first time during this core’s stretch of five straight playoff appearances, they will open without home-ice advantage. Despite lofty preseason expectations, they can play the underdog role against the Bruins.

“They’re Stanley Cup champions. They know how to play in playoffs,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “They’re hard team to play against, but for us it’s going to be huge opportunity to beat Stanley Cup champion and move forward.”

In order to move forward, the Caps need much more than repeat performances of their games vs. Boston this season.

“That all goes out the window when it comes to playoffs. Stats — you guys can look at that, but that all goes right out the window,” Laich said. “Its a new season, and its a tough building to play in. Were going to have to play our absolute best in that series.”