Ryan Callahan, #24 of the New York Rangers, and Keith Aucoin, #23 of the Washington Capitals, battle for the puck during the first overtime period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Washington Capitals spent the day recuperating both mentally and physically after a grueling 2-1 triple-overtime loss. They returned to practice Friday to prepare for Game 4 Saturday, which starts at the unique time of 12:30 p.m.
The Caps only played eight games during the regular season that began at 5 p.m. or earlier (though they have played four 3 p.m. games so far this postseason), so preparing for a game so early in the afternoon does change their gameday routines.
"It's a little different," Keith Aucoin said. "You've got to get up a little earlier and you've gotta eat. You don't eat as much, a light breakfast to get some food in you. You're at the rink at 10:30 as opposed to 5 at night. It's a little different, but a lot of guys like it. You get up, you get to the rink and you're full of energy. I like it myself."
Meanwhile, Karl Alzner actually prefers to play later in the day so that he can have more time to prepare.
"It changes a lot," he said when asked if his preparation changes when playing an earlier game. "Some guys really like the early games. I personally don't care for them as much."
Yet, Alzner said that playing an early game after such a long game Wednesday will work to someone's advantage Saturday.
"The way the last game went, it would've been nice to have a late game, but now it's really gonna show who can get themselves ready to play quick," he said. "You can't use that as an excuse."