Do Caps have what it takes to bounce back?

Do Caps have what it takes to bounce back?
May 3, 2012, 9:43 pm
Share This Post

The numbers are daunting for a reason. Since 2000, NHL teams that have lost a playoff game of three or more overtimes have gone 5-11 in those series.

Caps fans are all too familiar with that storyline. Twice in their history theyve lost quadruple overtime games and have lost both series.

But people around these Capitals feel differently about this team. Maybe its because they fought so hard to get into the playoffs. Maybe its because nine of their 10 games have been decided by one goal and five have been decided in overtime.

We had to play some tough hockey to get into the playoffs, Dale Hunter said Thursday, less than 12 hours after his team dropped a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers in triple overtime.

Playing playoff hockey you have to bounce back and be tough during the game if something happens on the ice. You go down a goal like last night, you just keep battling and good things will happen.

Capitals associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig said he sees a different mental toughness in these Capitals than hes seen in the teams that failed to get past the second round in each of the previous four post-seasons. And although the Capitals trail the best-of-seven series 2-1, he hardly sees the deficit as insurmountable.

I think the guys have finally bought into Dales type of hockey and theyre realizing what hes been trying to emphasize throughout the year is finally paying off now in the playoffs, Kolzig said. The guys are rising to the occasion. The way they battled against Boston and to go win three games out of four in that building, including Game 7, that says a lot.

The adversity that we faced this year, as opposed to the last two years where we basically solidified a playoff spot in January and kind of cruised into the playoffs, this year we had to scratch and claw.

You see it year in and year out, teams like Philly a few years ago in 2010, they make it on a last minute shootout goal and they go to the finals, Edmonton in 2006, they make it on the last day and they go to the finals against Carolina. So those teams that battle right to the end, if you can stay healthy, then youre going to have the edge over teams that solidified a spot two months in advance and I think thats what were experiencing.

So I dont think that were going to be as down as maybe some other teams would be after a game like that.