Can Caps learn from upcoming Game Sevens?

Can Caps learn from upcoming Game Sevens?
May 28, 2013, 11:00 am
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Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) and Capitals center Mike Ribeiro (9) sit on the bench during a stoppage in play against the New York Rangers in the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center.

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

In the next two nights, four NHL teams will have their seasons decided by a Game 7.

I wonder if the Capitals will be watching.

Since Alex Ovechkin re-introduced the Caps to the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2008, seven of their nine playoff series have gone the distance. They have won just two of those seven Game 7s and have been outscored 19-7 in their five losses, including a 5-0 blowout loss to the Rangers two weeks ago.

Can the Caps learn anything by watching the Sharks face off against the Kings tonight at 9 p.m. [NBC Sports Network] and the Red Wings butt helmets with the Blackhawks Wednesday night in Chicago [8 p.m., NBC Sports Network]?

Like maybe how to invoke the killer instinct necessary to put opposing teams away?

The Caps owned a 2-0 series lead on the Rangers and lost Games 3 and 4 in New York before eventually bowing out in seven games. They also owned 3-1 lead on Montreal in 2010 and a 2-0 lead on the Penguins in 2009 before losing those series in seven games.

“That would be awesome if you were able to bury teams every time you were up,” Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. “That would obviously be the best thing going. It's tough. Every situation is different with every team. You may run into a team that has that killer instinct and just that one game they might come back from 3-0, 2-0, and find a way to win.

“Yeah, you want it. You want to have more of that. You don't always get to control the type of situation. You try your best, but sometimes other teams are just better than that."

Alzner was asked if having more players with Stanley Cup rings might provide the experience necessary to win when everything is on the line. [For the record, the Rangers’ Brad Richards and the Caps’ Troy Brouwer were the only two players in that Caps-Rangers series with Cup rings].
“I don't know,” Alzner said. “I haven't had that opportunity, so I don't really know how that team would work. You would think that that's something that would work. You always talk about wanting guys that have that experience, that playoff experience, and that's usually a hot commodity.”

The Kings, who won the Cup last season, and Blackhawks, who won in 2010, have plenty of members with Stanley Cup rings. So do the Red Wings, who last won it all in 2008. The Sharks do not.

“If that's what we had on the team, I think that would probably help,” Alzner said. “But like I said, I haven't really been on a team like that before, so I don't really know.”