On the ice for Monday’s morning skate in preparation for Game 3, the Washington Capitals looked like a confident, relaxed team that leads a series two games to none. Perhaps too relaxed for goaltender Braden Holtby’s liking.
“It’s good to a point. I’m not sure we want it as loose as this morning,” Holtby said. “It’s still playoff time and you never want to get comfortable. When you’re starting to get loose, you can tell guys are starting to get comfortable and what-not.”
In building a 2-0 series lead, the Caps were dominant at times, like when they held the Rangers without a shot for the final 17:43 of Game 2. But Holtby wants a sharp focus.
“We’re going to make sure in pre-game meeting that everyone is focusing in, making sure that we’re doing the right things to prepare, as if we’re down 0-2,” he said. “Just because we’re up,it doesn’t make it any easier on us.”
Every healthy Caps player was on the ice Monday at Madison Square Garden, and they’ll have the same lines and pairings as Games 1 and 2.
Coach Adam Oates gave his players the option to skate Sunday and addressed the balance between confidence and complacency.
“You hope that the messages you’ve been saying all year long guys understand that,” Oates said. “That’s part of what we talked about [Sunday], just so you remember that it’s hockey. Don’t get too excited, it was a game. Exciting we won, did a lot of good things but you still gotta do some stuff better.”