Laich's Game 7 advice: 'Let yourself be free'

Laich's Game 7 advice: 'Let yourself be free'
May 11, 2012, 12:53 pm

This may seem hard to believe, but when the Capitals visit the New York Rangers Saturday night for the seventh and decisive game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals 7:30, NBC Sports Network, it will be the sixth Game 7 in the playoff careers of Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin. For Caps veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik, it will his ninth career Game 7.

By comparison, only two Rangers Ruslan Fedotenko and Mike Rupp, each with five have played in more than three Game 7s.

In their playoff history, the Capitals are 3-7 in Game 7s, including their 2-1 overtime victory in Boston on April 25.

With the exception of one game that I kind of want to forget about, in my experience the Game Sevens have been very, very tight, Laich said, apparently referring to the 6-2 home loss to the Penguins in the second round of the 2009 playoffs.

They start off sometimes a little tentative. People try to feel each other out, nobody wants to make that mistake early. But for us going in we dont change a thing.

We keep playing the same way. Look back to Game 5, we were six seconds away from winning. And we won Game 2 in there. So weve played well in that building. We just have to keep doing the same thing. And then the other thing is just enjoy it. You cant get froze up by the pressure or the intensity. You just have to let yourself be free and enjoy it and then after that whatever you are, if youre a skater, you have to skate, if youre a shooter you shoot. You just let your natural abilities take over and compete your tail off.

Here's a statistical look at how each player and each team has fared in career Game 7s:

Career Game 7 StatisticsWashington GP W-L G A Pts.
Karl Alzner 2 1-1 0 0 0
Keith Aucoin 1 1-0 0 0 0
Nicklas Backstrom 5 2-3 1 1 2
Jay Beagle 2 1-1 0 0 0
Troy Brouwer 2 1-1 0 0 0
John Carlson 2 1-1 0 1 1
Jason Chimera 2 1-1 0 1 1
John Erskine 3 1-2 0 0 0
Mike Green 5 2-3 0 1 1
Jeff Halpern 2 0-2 0 1 1
Roman Hamrlik 8 5-3 0 5 5
Matt Hendricks 1 1-0 1 0 1
Marcus Johansson 1 1-0 0 0 0
Mike Knuble 3 1-2 0 1 1
Brooks Laich 5 2-3 2 1 3
Alex Ovechkin 5 2-3 2 2 4
Jeff Schultz 2 1-1 0 0 0
Alexander Semin 5 2-3 1 1 2
Joel Ward 1 1-0 1 0 1
Dennis Wideman 4 1-3 0 1 1

Washington Goaltenders

GP Mins W-L GAA SO Sv
Braden Holtby 1 63 1-0 0.95 0 .969
Michal Neuvirth - - - - - -
Tomas Vokoun - - - - - -

Braden Holtby

Date Score Dec. Shots
42512 WSH 2 at BOS 1 (OT) Win 32

Washington Head Coach Dale Hunter (1-0)
Date Score Dec.
42512 WSH 2 at BOS 1 (OT) Win

NY Rangers GP W-L G A Pts.
Artem Anisimov 2 1-1 0 0 0
Stu Bickel 1 1-0 0 0 0
Ryan Callahan 2 1-1 0 1 1
Michael Del Zotto 1 1-0 0 0 0
Brandon Dubinsky 2 1-1 0 2 2
Steve Eminger 1 0-1 0 0 0
Ruslan Fedotenko 5 5-0 3 1 4
Marian Gaborik 3 3-0 1 0 1
Dan Girardi 2 1-1 1 0 1
Carl Hagelin 1 1-0 0 0 0
Chris Kreider 1 1-0 0 0 0
Ryan McDonagh 1 1-0 0 0 0
John Mitchell 1 1-0 0 0 0
Brandon Prust 1 1-0 0 1 1
Brad Richards 3 3-0 0 3 3
Mike Rupp 5 2-3 1 2 3
Marc Staal 2 1-1 1 0 1
Derek Stepan 1 1-0 0 1 1
Anton Stralman 1 1-0 0 0 0

NY Rangers Goaltenders

GP Mins W-L GAA SO Sv
Henrik Lundqvist 2 120 1-1 1.50 0 .941
Martin Biron 1 66 1-0 1.82 0 .951

Henrik Lundqvist

Date Score Dec. Shots
42612 OTT 1 at NYR 2 Win 27
42809 NYR 1 at WSH 2 Loss 24

Martin Biron

Date Score Dec. Shots
42208 PHI 3 at WSH 2 (OT) Win 41

NY Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella (3-1)
Date Score Dec.
42612 OTT 1 at NYR 2 Win
42809 NYR 1 at WSH 2 Loss
6704 CGY 1 at TB 2 Win
52204 PHI 1 at TB 2 Win

Washington Capitals Game 7 History (3-7)
42512, Eastern Conference QF vs. Boston (WSH 2 at BOS 1, OT)
42810, Eastern Conference QF vs. Montreal (MTL 2 at WSH 1)
51309, Eastern Conference SF vs. Pittsburgh (PIT 6 at WSH 2)
42809, Eastern Conference QF vs. NY Rangers (NYR 1 at WSH 2)
42208, Eastern Conference QF vs. Philadelphia (PHI 3 at WSH 2, OT)
51895, Eastern Conference QF vs. Pittsburgh (WSH 0 at PIT 3)
5192, Patrick Division SF vs. Pittsburgh (PIT 3 at WSH 1)
43088, Patrick Division Final vs. New Jersey (N.J. 3 at WSH 2)
41688, Patrick Division SF vs. Philadelphia (PHI 4 at WSH 5, OT)
41887, Patrick Division SF vs. NY Islanders (NYI 3 at WSH 2, 4OT)

New York Rangers Game 7 History (4-5)
42612, Eastern Conference QF vs. Ottawa (OTT 1 at NYR 2)
42809, Eastern Conference QF vs. Washington (NYR 1 at WSH 2)
61494, Stanley Cup Final vs. Vancouver (VAN 2 at NYR 3)
52794, Eastern Conference Final vs. New Jersey (N.J. 1 at NYR 2, 2OT)
5192, Patrick Division SF vs. New Jersey (N.J. 4 at NYR 8)
5574, Semifinal vs. Philadelphia (NYR 3 at PHI 4)
5271, Semifinal vs. Chicago (NYR 2 at CHI 4)
42350, Stanley Cup Final vs. Detroit (NYR 3 at DET 4, 2OT)
4239, Semifinal vs. Boston (NYR 1 at BOS 2, 3OT)