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Light without being too loose is the skill the Caps have apparently mastered. Hunter has said on numerous occasions: “It’s just hockey. Don’t overanalyze it. It’s just playing hockey, guys. It’s all it is.”

It’s just hockey, and the Caps in the past two months have resembled a good hockey team. Game 7 is just another hockey game.

“You can’t get caught up in the hype of it. Obviously, it’s win or go home. It’s your season on the line,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “But at the same time you’ve got to be excited to play. You got to have fun out there. Like we said in the last series, these Game 7s are the most fun that you can have playing hockey.”

But perhaps Laich put it best when explaining why it’s not so bad to have fun in high-intensity playoff situations, and why the Capitals have made it such a successful way of survival.

“You’re fighting for your right to continue to play hockey. I mean, if you don’t win, then the game of hockey is taken away from you and you are no longer allowed to play,” Laich said. “I think that’s why you see people still having fun: They really appreciate being able to come to the rink. And we’re right in the thick of things, in a Stanley Cup chase, playing good hockey against good hockey teams. It’s a very exciting time of year.”