They had been there so many times before--one of the most exciting, albeit nauseating games in sports--Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Playoff round.
In fact, last year in the their remarkable playoff run towards the Stanley Cup, they played three series that went to seven games, including the Stanley Cup Final itself. This series against the number seven seed in the conference should be nothing compared to those, right?
Not when you factor the exhaustion. Not the physical exhaustion of playing in a seven game series, with four of those games going into overtime. But the mental anxiety that carries over from a short summer and through a long, long season.
As the game started and continued through the first period, there was something missing that was so clearly evident in last year's run. They looked tired and they failed to have that same spark that ran through the entire bench last year.
As has been customary for this series, the Capitals started the scoring midway through the first period when Matt Hendricks fired a shot through at 11:23, giving Washington a familiar lead.
Tyler Seguin provided offense for the Bruins in the second period with a diving lunge at the puck as it trickled behind rookie sensation Braden Holtby, who otherwise made 31 saves on the night.
The third period had fans in and out of their seats as things began to heat up, but neither team could find the advantage over the other. The Bruins failed to convert on their power play numerous times including a chance with just over two minutes to go in regulation.
And, as people will tell you, hockey is a game of inches and bounces and chances, and each team has them. The Bruins had the best opportunity just as the overtime period started, and Patrice Bergeron missed an open net off a rebound by just a few inches. That turned into a chance the other way where perhaps the most unlikely candidate to score in overtime, Joel Ward, put the game winner in and sent the B's packing.
"It's definitely a weird feeling, an empty feeling," Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said after the game. "You're kind of wondering what's going to happen--you don't even realize it's summer now, but again, a couple bounces here or there and it could have gone the other way."