Capitals forward Jay Beagle is keeping a playoff diary as Washington makes its way through the postseason. Here are his thoughts on the eve of the second round, as told by phone to The Post’s Greg Schimmel:
When Wardo scored that goal, it is hard to describe the feeling. It was more of a relief than anything that we had scored and we knew we were going to the next round.
Going into overtime, two or three of us had said Wardo was going to score. You don’t say it out loud, but you were thinking it because that line had played so good. Especially in Game 7, that line was playing unbelievably and they deserved to score. It’s good when guys are working that hard, and for him to get rewarded with an overtime goal is great.
The day after was just a great day. You wake up happy and excited. It’s just a good feeling to win. A lot of people were phoning me from back home, so the next day you’re just sitting there thinking about the night before.
I was talking about it and thinking about it all day yesterday, then that night we got a text saying we’re flying out to New York on Friday, and it’s right back to business. It was a day of being excited, then today we were back to work getting ready for another series.
We didn’t know if we’d be playing Saturday or Sunday so it feels like a pretty quick turnaround, but it’s even quicker for the Rangers. It’s good, though, because you stay in it mentally. If you have too many days off, you’re getting sick of practicing and you maybe don’t stay in the rhythm of playing. You’re used to playing every second or third day during the season so it’s kind of good to get going. I like to stay in that game shape.
The Rangers are a familiar team, and we almost had to play them in the first round until coming in seventh at the last minute changed that. It’s not weird switching gears and thinking about the Rangers after we spent two weeks playing Boston. You’re still focusing on your game and playing your best game rather than on the opponent. We’ll watch film and look at their systems and their special teams stuff, but you’re more worried about yourself than what they’re going to do. It’s just another team we have to face to get to our ultimate goal.
We just got in to New York this afternoon. We’ll have another team meal tonight and it’ll be the same thing. I’ll get to bed early and get up early tomorrow and get a good meal in, then eat again before I head over about three hours before the game.
Even after the excitement of Game 7, it’s not hard to get back up for any game in the playoffs. It was a huge high when we won Game 7, and we just have to carry our game over into the next series.
Winning Game 7 and beating Boston was huge to get here, but now we’re here and every game is bigger than the last, so the next game is even more important. It’s just another stepping stone to the Stanley Cup finals, and our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.
More on the Capitals:
— Analysis: How the Caps and Rangers match up
— History says it could boom or bust for Caps
— For Caps, second round could be boom or bust
— Ward arrives a hero at Friday’s practice
— Caps to face Rangers in conference semifinals
— Caps are committed to Hunter’s system