Washington Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner is no stranger to disappointing playoff exits.
Since his rookie season in 2007, the team has twice lost in the opening round of the playoffs. In addition, the Caps season has ended in the semifinals on two occasions despite entering the playoffs as the top seed in their division.
In an interview with Holden and Danny, Alzner described how the pain of playoffs-past has helped him prepare for the seven game mêlée with the Boston Bruins.
“In the past you go into a playoff series and you always think let’s finish this in four games or five games and have some time off before the next one,” said Alzner.
Alzner explained that the longer the series went, the more doubt and uncertainty would set it in.
“When it comes to game seven you’re not thinking about game seven, you’re thinking about how you should have won it in five or six,” said Alzner.
This year the team changed its approach, which is evident in their playing style. Once known as an offensive powerhouse, the Capitals have adopted coach Dale Hunter’s patient counter-attack method that is tailored towards the teams’ defensive ability.
Alzner believes this new mentality has helped the Caps not only keep up but also compete with the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
“You know that it’s going to be a long series; it’s going to be a battle right to the end,” said Alzner. “Who cares if you have to travel a couple days to Boston or back to Washington, it’s going to happen. We’re not going to walk through any of these series. Just know that it’s going to be a battle and expect it.”
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this Caps – Bruins match up is the first Stanley Cup playoff series where the first six games were each decided by a single goal.