WASHINGTON It couldnt have worked out much better for Mike Mottau.
The Massachusetts native made his playoff debut for the Bruins in Sunday afternoons Game 6 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals, and wore a wide smile afterward in the visitors dressing room at the Verizon Center.
It was a smile borne out of team victory in an elimination game against the Capitals, and a smile signifying his first taste of playoff action with the Black and Gold after serving as a healthy scratch for the first five postseason games.
It was great. As far as playoff hockey goes, there is no better time to play, said Mottau. Youre a little nervous before the game with the excitement that you cant duplicate during the regular season.
Both Mottau and defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk took part in the pregame warm-up prior to Sundays game, and Joe Corvo participated as well despite taking a Mike Green slapper off his knee during Saturdays loss at TD Garden. The Bs defenseman never returned to Saturday afternoons loss, and clearly wasnt ready to play Sunday in an important Game 6 tilt.
Instead Mottau finished with 9:21 of ice time that included a shot that deflected off the post in the first period that would have made a pretty good story for the local: scoring a playoff goal on his first shot of his first game. But instead Mottau had to settle for putting together a solid effort despite two weeks of rust that had gathered on the veteran blueliner.
Afterward he marveled at the way his teammates were able to battle through adversity to come out with the win they needed in Game 6, and said its a far-cry from the wide-eyed dressing room he left behind in Long Island.
Its what makes this team successful. Coming from my situation with a young team down on Long Island, its really exciting to see when a veteran group doesnt panic, stays the course and knows they can wear down an opponent whether they put on a push or not, said Mottau. There was a lot of emotion out there and momentum, but we prevailed. There is a loose atmosphere even when the pressure goes up, and thats a very good sign.
Mottau will never be able to tell his grandkids that he scored a goal on his first playoff shot with the Bruins, but he can tell them he helped guide them to a much-needed postseason victory.