– Of the handful of lessons learned from last year’s 25-game, three-month journey to winning the Stanley Cup, one of the most important is managing emotions, according to Bruins forward Chris Kelly
Even a day before the puck drop of Game 1, the wave of ups-and-downs has already been set forward with the loss of forward Nathan Horton
, who will miss the entire 2012 postseason, GM Peter Chiarelli announced Wednesday.
“There’s going to be great times and there’s going to be tough times,” Kelly said. “I don’t think you can get too high or too low. One game you’re on Cloud nine, and the next night you’re going to be in the dumps.
There's going to be great times and there's going to be tough times. I don't think you can get too high or too low. One game you're on Cloud nine, and the next night you're going to be in the dumps. - Chris Kelly
“It’s important to keep an even keel throughout the course of the playoffs and obviously everyone needs to raise their game that much more.”
That said, there are plenty of reasons for the Bruins to be excited for the first-round matchup against the Capitals.
“I think at this point in hockey, it seems all the series are great matches – there’s no series you can say one team is going to win hands down,” Kelly said. “I think that’s what makes hockey exciting. So, we’re looking forward to this challenge. [Washington has] played well to put themselves in the playoffs and we just want to come out and have our best effort.”
The greatest challenge the Capitals present comes in the form of a potent offense, filled with big-name scorers like Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom.
Last season the Bruins showed they can score too, as they netted 81 goals in 25 games during their Cup run.
But it’s not about focusing on the number of goals scored, more than it is executing the gameplan.
“I think it’s just playing the system properly,” Kelly said. “The minute you think about scoring goals and lots of goals, that doesn’t happen.
We capitalized on our opportunities last year and hopefully we do the same thing this year. But by no means are we heading into these playoffs thinking we’re going to be a big scoring team, that’s not our style – we take care of our own end first and work our way out.”