Following the Capitals Game Four loss to the Lightning at home, which tied the series 2-2, it felt to some to be an echo of postseasons past. However, the 2017-18 Capitals are a different team.
Evgeny Kuznetsov addressed the media, confident, and positive, that the team could bounce back in Game Five.
— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) May 18, 2018
“We have to keep moving forward,” Kuznetsov said, of dropping Games Three and Four at home. “Stay positive.”
The Capitals echoed their first-line center after their day off, calling the series now a best of three to get to the Stanley Cup Final.
“I’m smiling most of the time these days,” Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said. “I think we look at it realistically. I mean, I said to everybody in September, even yesterday, and they’re saying the same thing: Sign me up. Best-of-three, got a chance to maybe go to the Stanley Cup Finals, sign me up.”
Though the Capitals won their first two games on the road, giving them a 2-0 cushion over the Lightning, Trotz was certain the Lightning would fight back hard.
“I don’t think anybody thought the series would go four straight or anything like that,” he said. “There’s two really high-quality teams that are going to go nose-to-nose. There’s twists and turns in the road sometimes.”
Losing that lead doesn’t have Trotz worried. “Yeah, no, it’s tied. It’s best out of three. That’s how we look at it. Like I say, there’s another opportunity tomorrow.”
Nicklas Backstrom, who returned to the lineup in Game Four, following a hand injury sustained in Game Five of the second round, reiterated the positive sentiments of Kuznetsov and Trotz.
“It’s great,” Backstrom said. “I mean, I feel like a lot of us on this team has been here long enough, been waiting for this opportunity. I mean, it’s great. It’s a best-out-of-three series for the Stanley Cup Final. It’s a great motivator right there.”
Lars Eller, who took five penalties over two games at Capital One Arena, was not about to let that define his play moving forward into Game Five.
“Yeah, you can’t let the mistakes of the past, you know, influence when you go out there for the next one,” Eller said. “You got to regain your confidence or whatever it is. Just have a fresh mind. Even shift by shift sometimes.”
“I think we have done a good job of doing that throughout this playoffs,” he added. “Now it’s just best-of-three. We’ve been in this position before. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
Of course, it is hard to divorce postseason history from the Capitals, but Brooks Orpik refused to have their previous record dictate the rest of their 2017-18 playoffs.
“I think we do a better job than some of the fans and media. I think we do a good job of blocking that out,” Orpik said. “I mean, we didn’t have home ice advantage, that’s what everybody called it coming into the series. If we have won two at home, lost two on the road, we’d be at the same point.”
When it comes down to it, the Capitals are positive about their remaining games in the Eastern Conference Final.
“Like I said, it doesn’t matter how we got here,” Orpik said. “This is where we’re at. It’s best-of-three to move on to the Finals.”
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.