Photos: Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images
The Washington Capitals started the postseason in an 0-2 hole after dropping two overtime games on their home ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Defeats like those can either deflate a team or give them motivation to step it up. The Capitals answered that adversity by playing their best hockey for much of the next four games, ultimately winning four consecutive games for the first time since 2009. Now a familiar foe awaits.
“Please, let me breathe,” Trotz said after the Capitals just won Game 6. “We haven’t taken a breath since things started so I’m not gonna answer any questions if you want to bring them up.”
For the third straight season, the Capitals will meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. After the final buzzer sounded in Game 6 at Nationwide Arena and the players on both teams shook hands, Alex Ovechkin was interviewed coming off the ice. Here’s what he had to say about this upcoming second round matchup (via Barstool Nate)
Ovi on Pittsburgh: “Can’t wait 😎😎😎😎😎😎😎”
— Nate (@BarstoolNate) April 24, 2018
He elaborated more on the rematch in the locker room.
“I can’t wait. It’s a huge opportunity for us to take a step forward. Obviously, it’s the Stanley Cup champion back-to-back. They know how to play. They know how to handle the pressure. It’s going to be a huge series for us,” said Ovechkin.
For all of his career he’s heard his name alongside Sidney Crosby, as the duo began their respective NHL careers in the 2005-06 season. Crosby has been the one that has had the success of lifting a Stanley Cup over his head and winning a gold medal.
Ovechkin will certainly be entering this series with a chip on his shoulder, and after the spectacular comeback season he had, there would be no greater comeback than beating Pittsburgh.
“We just have to believe in each other and don’t look at what’s happened in previous years this year,” Ovechkin added. “It’s a new season, new series.”
In both 2016 and 2017 the Capitals trailed the Penguins three games to one in the best of seven series. The Capitals staved off elimination in Game 5 before watching their season end thanks to Nick Bonino in Game 6 in 2016. The next year, the Capitals were able to rally and force a Game 7 before falling on their home ice 2-0.
“We’re excited to be in this same position this year to have a shot at winning a Stanley Cup. Obviously we knew chances were we have to go through them at some point and we’ve prepared well,” said Braden Holtby. “I think we’ve used the year to better our team and our focus now is just on Game 1. For us it doesn’t matter the team we’re playing, we have a goal in mind of winning 16 and that starts with Game 1 in the second round.”
By Michael Marzzacco