Perhaps Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich thinks that
saying something makes it so. Or maybe he’s a believer in the power
of positive thinking.
Laich used the phrase ”keep moving forward” over and over
again – five times in all – on Tuesday while discussing how he and
his teammates need to recover and regroup from a potentially
devastating loss to the New York Rangers if the Capitals are going
to avoid elimination in Game 6 on Wednesday night.
The top-seeded Rangers lead the series 3-2, one victory from
reaching the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since
1997, when a certain guy by the name of Wayne Gretzky was on the
”We want to close it out and get this over with. It’s a lot
easier said than done,” Rangers forward Brad Richards said. ”We
want to be as desperate as they are.”
With No. 7-seeded Washington on the verge of taking control of
the semifinal series Monday night, Richards tied Game 5 with less
than 10 seconds left, and Marc Staal won it about 1 1/2 minutes
”You can’t really write that; that’s something you can’t
script. You keep moving forward,” Laich said. ”Good breaks, bad
breaks. We just keep moving forward.”
As much as there might be for the Capitals to lament about how
things went awry – two-time NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin had zero shots on
goal for only the second time in 49 career NHL playoff games;
Washington lost the game’s last seven faceoffs; Joel Ward’s
double-minor penalty gave the Rangers power plays at the end of
regulation and the start of overtime – they want to do whatever it
takes to forget all of it.
”Everyone’s realizing that: Let’s just get it out of our heads
now. Let’s just focus on what we need to focus on,” defenseman
John Carlson said. ”That stuff happens. It’s no one’s fault.
There’s no one to blame.”
As it happens, the Capitals have shown a capacity for moving on
– They’re 3-0 in games following overtime losses this
postseason, including taking Game 4 after a three-OT defeat against
the Rangers in Game 3.
– They haven’t lost consecutive games since March 22-23.
– Goalie Braden Holtby has played 28 straight NHL games without
losing two in a row, a streak that dates to November 2010.
Why is that?
”We control our emotions a little better. I mean, even when we
win, we’re not bouncing off the ceiling. It’s more of a business
atmosphere. And when we lose, we know we can bounce back,” Laich
said. ”I mean, we have a very good hockey team. We never get too
high, never get too low. We stay pretty composed.”
As for whether New York will be looking ahead at all, Rangers
coach John Tortorella said: ”We won’t be overconfident. This team
doesn’t get overconfident.”
If Washington does manage to win Wednesday, Game 7 would be
Saturday in New York.
For the Capitals to extend the series, though, odds are they’ll
need to score the opening goal of Game 6. So far in these playoffs,
Washington is 6-1 when it scores first, and 0-5 when its opponent
”The start is always big. You want to try to get momentum as
quick as you can. That’s always the focus,” Rangers forward Brian
Boyle said. ”I just expect their intensity to ramp up even more.
We have to do the same and match it.”
NOTES: Tortorella on Richards, who was the playoffs MVP when
their Tampa Bay Lightning won the 2004 Stanley Cup: ”I don’t have
to say much to him. He knows how to assess his game. He’s a guy
that I think mentors people. It’s one of the reasons he wanted to
be here. He could see how young a team it was and he wanted to be
involved in the mentoring.” … The Capitals met at their practice
facility Tuesday for a video session, but only players who aren’t
expected to be on the ice in Game 6 skated. … The Rangers held an
optional practice at Madison Square Garden before taking the train
to Washington. … How does Ovechkin deal with a Rangers defense
that became the first to hold him without a shot in the playoffs
since Montreal did it on April 15, 2010? ”Got to keep trying to
get pucks to the net,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. … New
York and Washington have scored as many as four goals in a game
only once each this postseason; both did it in the first round. …
11 of Washington’s 12 playoff games have been decided by one
AP Sports Writer Ira Podell in New York contributed to this