The Washington Capitals made history on Wednesday night winning their first Stanley Cup Finals game in franchise history. The win came in Las Vegas and took home ice advantage away from the Golden Knights. Barry Trotz talked to the media in a conference call on Thursday from the team plane and gave his thoughts as the Capitals head into the biggest sporting event this city hasn’t seen in 20 years.
You may remember early in the playoffs how the Capitals struggled to win at home this spring. They dropped both of their home games to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round in overtime to put themselves in early adversity down 0-2 in the series.
“I think that early in the playoffs home ice advantage for most teams is not that big of a deal and it hasn’t been a big deal for us,” Trotz said.
“I think we got off to a little bit of a tough start just in our overall game. (In the first round) we fell down the first two games, didn’t have any success but we (still) feel very comfortable at home.”
Since those two blunders, the Capitals are 4-3 at Capital One Arena but those four wins were each monumental in their own right. After each victory fans celebrated in the streets, took over the portrait gallery steps, and chanted things like “C-A-P-S, Caps Caps Caps!”. As each win got bigger the fans got louder.
“I think our fans will give us a real good boost. I think early in the playoffs we felt a little bit of pressure in the first round, everybody does I think. It’s the first step up from regular season to playoff intensity so I think the home ice advantage goes away for a lot of teams but for us, we’re fine,” said Trotz.
Even when the Capitals weren’t on the ice at Capital One Arena, fans filled up the stands three times. First they came together to cheer on the Capitals to a Game 7 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Then fans packed the arena once again for Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. With the series square at a game apiece, the fans can’t wait to welcome their team home.
“I think it’s actually going to be a real advantage for us. We can get some matchups that we actually prefer. We should be fine,” said Trotz.
“We’re very comfortable at home, our record over the last four years was one of the best in the National Hockey League so I think we’ll get right back to where we want it to be.”
By Michael Marzzacco