You have probably seen all the analysis by now. You know all the reasons the Capitals are struggling and what the New York Islanders have been able to do so well through the first three games of the series. But, to put it simply, the Islanders have been better in almost every aspect of the game. New York has gotten better offense, better defense, better goaltending and better coaching.
“I have to give credit to the Islanders," Capitals head coach Todd Reirden said. "They’ve done a good job and they deserve to be ahead 3-0 in this series."
If that doesn't change, then the series will end on Tuesday in Game 4. The Capitals know that and now must prepare for the daunting task of trying to climb out of a 3-0 series hole.
The Caps have yet to beat the Islanders in three tries in this series. Now they must beat them four straight times or their season is over.
But the team is trying not to think of it that way.
"It is all about the next day, the next game and the next play and taking it shift by shift and creating that belief that I started to see a little bit of at the end of Game 3 as we moved along," Reirden said. "It is up to us to build on those thoughts and some of those things that we were doing and continue to focus on them and get over that hump of getting some momentum going our way.”
Everyone knows how difficult coming back from a 3-0 hole will be. Only four teams have done it...ever. But for now, the goal is just to win one game. That has proven difficult thus far in the series, but figuring out how to win one game is a much more manageable goal than winning four and one they have to accomplish on Tuesday just to keep the season alive.
"Sometimes you want to break it down to one game and one period or one shift or just that next faceoff or 1-on-1 battle in front of you, whatever it is to execute or win -- win your next battle," Lars Eller said. "It's a steep mountain to climb when you look at it as any more than that, then you've got another four series and you can't think of it like that. And that's the challenge: to boil it down to what's right in front of you and only think about that because you can get tired just thinking about the other stuff."
It's a daunting task, but even if the Caps don't want to think about the long-odds before them, there is still confidence in the locker room.
Said Eller, "I think the players play the game and it's a matter of how well they execute and I still have 100% confidence in our team."