The excellent news for Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals is that they nonetheless lead their Japanese Convention remaining towards the Tampa Bay Lightning. The unhealthy information for the Capitals, counterintuitive as it might be: They host Game 4.
Up to now, Washington is 7-1 in away video games this post-season, closing out every of its first two collection on the road.
Heading into Thursday night time, the Capitals are solely 3-4 of their area. The newest setback was a 4-2 loss to the Lightning on Tuesday, after victories at Tampa Bay by a mixed rating of 10-4 within the remaining’s opening two video games.
Ovechkin merely shrugged when requested about that discrepancy.
“We do not give it some thought,” the three-time NHL MVP stated. “We simply play our recreation.”
Others have been much less dismissive.
“We are able to take just a few issues that we have carried out on the road and put it into our residence recreation,” goalie Braden Holtby stated. “Just a bit easier. Easier play. Only a type of, like, extra gritty type.”
‘Simply play the way in which we do on the road’
Requested what his membership might do to fare higher at residence, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stated: “Simply play the way in which we do on the road. We’re invested there. We’re enjoying with actual good focus. I did not suppose we have been as targeted as we’ve got been usually on the road. So simply faux you are on the road. All of the buildings are fairly properly the identical as of late.”
Trotz notices a distinction in his gamers’ perspective on residence ice, saying: “It is `us towards the world’ when have been on the road.”
There’s a league-wide development right here: Road groups are 38-34 in these playoffs.
A lot for any supposed home-ice benefit, proper?
“For no matter purpose, at the moment of the 12 months there are extra distractions than within the common season, for positive. Lots of people have family and friends coming down and ticket requests. Typically there’s that little added stress of enjoying at residence and wanting to clearly do good issues in entrance of your followers,” Lightning ahead Steven Stamkos stated. “There’s one thing to be stated, too, [for] successful video games on the road, when you may simply type of hear a pin drop within the crowd, generally, which is at all times a very good factor.”
‘It is simpler to play on the road’
“It is simpler to play on the road. It is at all times that approach on the road. Any workforce would say that,” he stated. “Since you’re not targeted on the joy of your followers and all that. They bring you power in good methods, however on the similar time, you want to keep sensible and play your recreation.”
Throughout the common season, Washington was a powerful residence workforce, enjoying in entrance of loud, red-wearing sellout crowds in each recreation.
Solely 5 groups within the 31-club NHL had extra victories at residence than Washington’s 28 — and that whole represents seven extra wins than the Capitals managed on the road.
So what’s going on within the playoffs?
“I do not actually have a proof for it, to be trustworthy with you,” defenseman Brooks Orpik stated. “I do know once we go on the road, I believe possibly we really feel a bit extra relaxed, and once we do make errors, possibly we do not let the groaning have an effect on us or whatnot. I imply, that being stated, I believe we ought to be most likely mentally stronger to not let that have an effect on us. Simply received to strive to discover a approach to win the following one at residence, for positive.”