As a player Dale Hunter turned elimination games into his own personal stage.
He is the only player in NHL history to record two series-clinching playoff goals in overtime. The first came as a member of the Quebec Nordiques in 1982 against the Montreal Canadiens. The second came as a member of the Capitals in 1988 when he beat Ron Hextall and the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7.
So what kind of advice is Hunter giving his players as they approach Wednesday nights winner-advances, loser-goes-home Game 7 against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden?
Its a one-game series, Hunter said. Enjoy it and have fun with it. Its going to be a great game to watch.
Hunter is not one for well-rehearsed pre-game speeches and he said hes not planning on giving one Wednesday night.
Theyll be pumped, he said. You dont have to say much. Its what you dream as a kid when you grow up, playing a Game 7.
Since 2008 the Caps have played in four Game 7's, all of them at home, and have come away with just one victory.
The Bruins blew a 3-0 lead on home ice against the Philadelphia Flyers two years ago, then rebounded last spring to become the first team in NHL history to win three Game 7's, including two in Boston and one in Vancouver to win the Stanley Cup.
What does that mean to the Capitals?
A Game 7 is a Game 7, no matter how you look at it, Capitals defenseman John Carlson said. I dont think you need to play in a hundred of them to be the best in a Game 7.
The Capitals won both of their regular season games in Boston and have beaten the Bruins in two of their three games at TD Garden in the playoffs.
We played well in there, center Jay Beagle said. We need to come out and play a solid road game. We know theyll bring their best and well bring our best.
Beagle said he does not look at Sundays home overtime loss to the Bruins as a missed opportunity to close out the defending Stanley Cup champions and said turning their attention to Game 7 is actually not as hard as you think.
If you come out and play a terrible game (six) and they take it to us and wipe us out then its a little different, Beagle said. But it was a great game, a tight defensive battle that went overtime.
Three of the six games between the Caps and Bruins have been decided in overtime and all have been decided by one goal. No one expects that trend to change on Wednesday in what has already been a post-season classic.
These games are tight, Carlson said. Weve come back and theyve come back. No ones given up. Weve won there in the regular season and post-season. Were a good team. We know what we need to do.