ARLINGTON, Va. --
It has been 24 years since Dale Hunter
scored one of the biggest goals in Washington Capitals
history -- a Game 7 overtime winner against the Philadelphia Flyers
in the 1988 Patrick Division Semifinals.
The win against the Flyers came in the first of four Game 7s Hunter would play for the Caps, but the only one in which he left a winner.
Wednesday at TD Garden, Hunter will seek his second career Game 7 win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and his first as an NHL coach, when the Caps meet the Boston Bruins
in the deciding game of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).
"As a player, I enjoyed them. It was fun. One game takes all," Hunter said. "As a player, you prepare yourself the same way, get ready for the game. And as a coach, you can't get too hyper. You've got to know who's on the ice and who's not. It changes from coach to player, but it’s exciting to be in a Game 7 like this and playing the Boston Bruins
Hunter coached in five Game 7s with the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights (posting a 2-3 record), but his coaching counterpart for Boston, Claude Julien
, has been behind an NHL bench for seven Game 7s (4-3 record).
"As a coach, you've got to prepare the guys and then they have to go out and execute," he said. "As a player, you've got to prepare yourself to be ready to play and do the right things. Don't get too high, don't get too low. Just go out and keep it the same."
Like their coach, five current Capitals have also played in four Game 7s with Washington only to come up short three times.
, Nicklas Backstrom
, Alexander Semin
, Brooks Laich
and Mike Green
will all be appearing in their fifth Game 7 in as many years. This will be their first Game 7 on the road and their first without former coach Bruce Boudreau
"The only difference is I think we play better defensively this year than previous years," Backstrom said. "It's a good challenge for us to be going to Boston and playing a Game 7 there against the Stanley Cup champions. I think everybody's prepared and we know what's coming."