ARLINGTON, V.A. — Nic Dowd was cool and collected as he took the podium at MedStar Capitals Iceplex prior to Game 6, where the Washington Capitals look to stave off elimination against the Florida Panthers on Friday.
While Dowd and the group are well aware of the circumstances and high stakes, especially following a lackluster Game 5 that saw Washington blow a 3-0 lead and surrender five unanswered goals, no one pressed the panic button, and the group has since been in good spirits.
“I don’t think much needs to be said,” Dowd said. “There was no meetings, no closed-door meetings or anything like that.”
Going into Game 6, Washington is sticking to almost the same game plan, dressing the same lineup while tweaking the forward lines a bit. The team will be without Tom Wilson for the fifth straight contest as he continues to deal with a lower-body injury.
Dowd said the team is confident in its same group and didn’t linger too much on the loss, and that the group’s mentality is to focus on doing the right things and trust the process.
“I think as much you have to understand the relevance of this game, it’s also important you got here playing a certain way,” Dowd explained. “There’s no need to start changing things and reaching for new fixes. We’re here because we deserve to be here.
“From that experience and being around playoffs in a winning organization… it’s better to be calm than it is to be uptight,” Dowd added. “We’re ready.”
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When it comes to the keys for Game 6, Dowd said that Washington is putting an emphasis on sticking to systems and getting contributions for all four lines. It is also vital for the Capitals not to get caught up in the emotion of the situation.
“It’s a race to four, no one’s won four yet. So you talk to every other team around the league, it’s the same thing. I think you get to the playoffs with experience, with good hockey, with a good team and same thing, that’s how you get through the playoffs, right? It doesn’t matter what the series is at now, it’s a best of 3 and no one’s won four yet,” Dowd said.
“I think the biggest thing is obviously we have a lot of different players on our team right? A lot of guys can play a lot of different roles. I’d say on our team specifically you know our forwards for example like everyone knows what they need to do… what’s important is that all of our players are on the same page playing the same way and you start with that hard work and I do believe that our skill can take over from there.”
Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.