Brenden Dillon has seen the highs and lows of the playoffs, especially this year.
Dillon scored his first career playoff goal (first in 71 games) in Game One of the Capitals-Bruins series. That tally, combined with Nic Dowd’s overtime game-winner, gave the Capitals a 1-0 series lead.
Two days later, Dillon had a crucial turnover early in overtime of Game Two, which allowed the Bruins to tie the series up. Dillon tried a blind clear up the boards that was intercepted by Boston. Dillon, mixed up in coverage with Justin Schultz, looked on helplessly in front of the net as Brad Marchand fired a one-timer past Craig Anderson.
The Capitals also lost Game Three in heart-breaking fashion as Ilya Samsonov and Schultz miscommunicated on a dump-in that led to Craig Smith’s double OT goal. Alex Ovechkin broke his stick on the bench and yelled in Russian at the two players as they left the ice. All three games have been decided in overtime.
“It’s emotional,” Dillon said on Friday after the Capitals’ morning skate. “The highs and lows. You win one game and you’re looking forward to a Stanley Cup parade. You lose one game and you feel like life’s over.”
Tell me that doesn’t sound like all of us on Twitter during games.
Dillon complimented the team’s leadership group for helping the team re-find its zen going into Game Four on Friday night.
“I think the day in between games is so crucial,” Dillon said. “We’ve got more than enough leadership guys on this team to understand that. We all want to win. We all want to win badly. There are going to be balances, communications, plays, little things that happen amongst the game. We all know we have our hearts and minds in the right place. We’re all pulling the same rope here and that’s just kinda the end of the day.
“Two really good teams,” Dillon continued. “Not a lot, really, out there offensively. Every shift, every little play, the importance of it. Just win one game. From Game One to now, Game Four, it’s just win one game, win your shift, win your battle, and set the line up for success on the next shift.”
Dillon also pointed out that there is an adjustment happening for several Capitals’ players who are either suiting up in their first playoff series or having a big role in one.
“We’re incorporating Sammy’s first playoff experience. Anthony Mantha first playoff experiences. Daniel Sprong,” Dillon said. “A bunch of guys coming into the lineup and having big roles and positions that’s new in playoffs, in critical games, critical times. Good and bad things are going to happen. It’s how you bounce back from those. It’s how your next shift’s going to be, how your next game’s going to be. It’s a best-of-seven series for a reason. You have to have your mind in the right place. You’re playing for your city, you’re playing for your teammates, you’re playing for so much.”
Dillon concluded the playoffs are why players play the game, but the screw-ups and losses can be stressful.
Same, Dilly. Same.
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