Skip to main content

Headlines

column

Capitals, Trotz have 'all in it together' approach to Game 7

Trust between players, coach has galvanized Washington's playoff run

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

TAMPA -- The Washington Capitals have had a determined attitude in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. From the good goals to the bad bounces and everything in between, they've held fast to the belief that they can do something special this year.

It's a belief that filters throughout the team and to coach Barry Trotz.

"We've been through it together," defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "This is the best [Trotz has] done as well, so far, and he's hungry for the same thing we are. The players who have been here, for sure, and he have gotten to know each other well and know what's expected out of the group. We're all in it together."

 

[RELATED: Fantasy: Lightning-Capitals Game 7 picks | Complete Lightning vs. Capitals series coverage]

 

The Capitals will try to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1998 when they play the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN1, TVAS).

Trotz and the Capitals have a bond. They've had outstanding regular seasons but great playoff success has eluded them. This is the furthest they've gotten together.

The Capitals believe there's something special with this team. Following Game 6, Trotz said there's no team he'd rather go into a Game 7 with than this one.

Video: Capitals force Game 7 as Holtby bounces back in win

"Just the way it's grown, the way it's handled adversity, handled just the whole year of roadblocks, expectations, all those things that just came about," Trotz said Tuesday. "There was a big turnover in our roster, nine guys, and trying to piece it together. Our start in the year, I think we were .500 after 20 games, and we built from there. Just see them grow as young men to a group that likes to hang out together, go into battle together, this group is one that has a real special element to it."

Although there were a lot of changes, forward Jay Beagle said Trotz never altered his style.

"There are little things the coaching staff does that switch things up, but for the style, I think it's the style we've had ever since he's come in," Beagle said. "But he's evolving as a coach as well.

"With our team and coaching staff, you learn something new every year. You're always growing as a player and as coaches. I think from the get-go this year we said that we still have a team we think can be in contention."

For Trotz, being on the cusp of the Stanley Cup Final isn't about him. It's not about any individual. It's about the Capitals being in this together.

"The chance to get into a Game 7, which will allow you to go to the [Cup Final], it's exciting, it's fun, it's all those things," Trotz said. "It's a life experience, it's a professional experience. There are 650 other players who want the experience who aren't going to get it. So for everybody on our team and everybody on Tampa [Bay] and the coaching staffs, those moments are rare. You take that opportunity, put your best game out tomorrow night, and when it's all said and done, you don't want any regrets that you left anything in the tank."

 

***

Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Final Coverage

Lightning vs. Capitals

Jets vs. Golden Knights

View More