Late Sunday evening, Alex Ovechkin told reporters huddled around him in the Capitals locker room that history does not matter and the predicted gloom and doom is for all the wrong reasons.
OK he didn't say exactly that, but that was his message.
What he did say was this: “We’re going to come back and win the series. We’re going to play our game, and we’re going to come back and we’re going to play Montreal or Tampa.”
Is that a guarantee? It pretty much is, right? It is hard to say it's not.
It's not exactly Mark Messier in 1994 when he predicted the Rangers (ironically enough) would win Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals in New Jersey against the cross-river rival, Devils.
Messier, better known as "The Messiah" to the hockey community, said "We're going to go in there and win Game 6," with the Rangers down 3-2 in the series and sitting on the verge of another heartbreak.
The backpages of the New York newspapers screamed out the headline WE'LL WIN TONIGHT!
All Messier did that night was score a hat trick and deliver on what he promised. The Rangers then won a Game 7 a couple of nights later in double-overtime to send the Garden into complete delirium.
Washington D.C. fans think they are cursed? They have no idea what a curse is. None. Anybody that feeds into this has never spent one day in Cleveland, on the "North Side" of Chicago or been witness to their team going 54 years without raising the holy grail.
You know like the Rangers fans were faced with in that fateful year of 1994.
Which brings us to Wednesday night in Gotham. This is Ovechkin's biggest game in his career.
I have doubt in my mind about that. There might be bigger to come this year or next, but this is it for now.
It's bigger than Game 7 against the Flyers at Verizon in 2008 to begin the "Rock the Red" era. A loss. It's larger than all of the other Game 7 disappointments like series ending losses to the Penguins in 2009, the Canadiens in 2010, the Rangers in 2012 on the road and 2013 back at home.
It's more important than Game 7 wins against the Rangers as Sergei Federov snapped home the game-winning goal or even a seventh game win in Boston against the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Boston Bruins in 2013.
It's slightly more important than two weeks ago as the Caps held on for dear life and beat the Islanders at Verizon to advance against the Rangers.
Bottom-line: This game will forever be a part of Ovechkin's legacy and how we view him. Not only because of the previous failures as a team and individually, but because Washington will have blown a 3-1 series lead with by far and away, his best supporting cast.
It's because of that help around him that I feel very strongly that the Capitals will get this done and march onto to the conference finals round with a win.
Nobody can do it alone and nobody expects Ovechkin to do it by himself, but for his sake, he needs to be what he can be often. Dominant.
I don't buy for a second all the gloom-and-doom that Capitals fans are feeling right now about the past. The past does not matter. It never matters. It has no significance in any way, even with this core.
The point is enough of parts have changed and been improved to make it a mute point.
"No, and I won't. It has no relevance on this series. Zero. Nothing....I won't waste my time."
Just like the following statistics have absolutely no relevance to this year for the Capitals and Rangers.
Here's what truly does matter. Alex Ovechkin has no goals since a brilliant game two score that brought the Caps within a goal before they eventually lost. He was even better in the first game of the series with a goal to get the party started and a brilliant set up to Joel Ward's late game-winner.
Ovechkin also doesn't have an assist since that stunning conclusion to game one in New York.
He does however have 13 shots-on-goal in the last three games and had five hits on Sunday night including pounding Ryan McDonagh into the boards with a vicious but clean hit.
That's what fuels Ovechkin. Hits. I would look for that to be a very big part of his game early on Wednesday night and especially if the Caps need a spark. Barry Trotz knows this. It is something he mentioned to me in February after a couple of months with his talented superstar.
As long as Ovechkin does it legally, this would be a very good sign. For some reason, I think Ovechkin's overall package fuels something really good for the Caps in this game, despite recent history.
The power play simply has to get better for the Caps. Ovechkin only has one goal with the extra-man in 13 post-season games. The Caps had the # 1 power play in the NHL during the regular season.
The unit has been less than stellar to say the least including on a gift call late in Sunday night's home loss. Way too much patience and not enough shots. I would look for the Caps to come out driving hard to the net and pounding Henrik Lundqvist.
The Caps have been guilty of some terrible turnovers in this series. John Carlson in Game 2, Curtis Glencross in game five, Matt Niskanen and several others on Sunday. They have to be better with the puck. That's as simple as I can make it. Turnovers have killed the Caps in big spots during the playoffs.
These are all not so good things for the Caps, but I still like a team that has to go on the road in Game 7 that has been through a lot of wars. There's a tendency to be too comfortable at home.
I have contended from the start of these playoffs that the reason I felt the Caps would have success was because this was clearly the best overall team they've had with the best coach, depth, defense and goaltending.
I don't think that is a point that can be argued.
There will be one other Capital on the ice Wednesday night that is more important than Ovechkin and that is Braden Holtby.
Holtby wasn't super sharp on Sunday night and maybe that's a good sign. He has a 1.71 goals-against-average (3rd) in the playoffs with a .944 save percentage (2nd). Once again, as he was during the regular season, Holtby is number one in shots against and saves during the playoffs (373-352).
Holtby should be a lot better when it is all on the line.
When it's all said and done, every trend and statistic seems to favor the New York Rangers who I believed would win this series in seven games before it started.
For some reason, maybe fate, perhaps destiny, I have changed my mind when it is very hard to do so. If I had to guess, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer, Nick Backstrom and Karl Alzner are going to be five guys we'll be talking about on Thursday that fueled the march in May.
Caps win 3-2 in a heart stopper!
Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980