When the Hurricanes scored the game-tying goal with 1:19 remaining in the third period on opening night at the Verizon Center, Mike Green took a glance at his head coach to take the temperature on the Capitals' bench.
"He didn't change his emotion, and that stuck throughout the bench and we were ready to do it," Green recalled. "And if you're positive, positive things are going to happen."
The game ended on quite the positive note for the Caps, as Green netted the game-winner in OT to send the fans home with smiles on their faces and a 4-3 win in the standings.
So, what's the moral of the story, folks?
Don't worry, be happy.
Boudreau said it was happy thoughts all around late in the game despite his squad relinquishing the lead.
"We'll get another one," Boudreau remembered telling his crew. "Don't worry guys. We've come back many times."
And that they did. Green won it with a power-play tally midway through the OT session when his shot from the top of the right circle squeezed through Brian Boucher's pads and across the goal line.
It was the Caps' second power-play tally of the night -- another positive sign for a team that struggled mightily with the man advantage at times a year ago.
The first power-play goal of the game gave the team the lead with 3:45 left in regulation. In that case, the Caps converted with a two-man advantage. Nicklas Backstrom dished a pass to Alex Ovechkin at the point, and the Caps' captain blasted a one-timer just wide of the net. Brooks Laich, however, was jolly on the spot. He backhanded the bounce off the boards behind Boucher to give the Caps a 3-2 lead.
But that wasn't all she wrote as Jussi Jokinen evened it up with some late-game heroics of his own. Eric Staal, who had scored a power-play tally 18 seconds into the period, dug a puck out from the corner and found Jeff Skinner to the left of the net. Skinner picked his head up and spotted Jokinen alone to the right of the net. Jokinen did a great job of stopping the puck with his right skate and kicking it to his stick. He then shot it past an outstretched Michal Neuvirth for the equalizer.
Whether it was the positive vibe that Boudreau gave off on the bench or the fact that the Caps can now be considered a veteran team that gives off a "been there, done that" attitude, Washington knew not to get down and out.
And, in the end, they were rewarded for their efforts.
"We came away with a big win," said Jason Chimera, who scored a beauty of a goal in the second period. "It was a character win. Anytime they tie it up, it is kind of an emotional letdown, but we got our guard back up, which is nice."
Sure, it's easy to be so positive in Game 1 of the regular season. But we'll see how long those vibes last if Boudreau's team can't hang on to those late-game leads.
"In close games you're going, 'Oh, here we go again,'" Boudreau said. "I feel good and confident that we're going to win, but it's nail-biting time. Only 81 more."