Confidence is a loaded word in hockey. When a team isn't playing well, they often say they don't have a lot of confidence. And when they're winning...they have an abundance of confidence. I tend to think it's more a descriptiong of how you're going and not a readon for how you're going. If everything is clicking, well of course you're feeling confident. It's not because you're feeling confident. But some guys still talk like it's fuel for their play.
After the game, Andy McDonald spoke with Bernie Federko on Fox Sports Midwest. McDonald has been without a doubt the best player in this series, no matter the position or jersey. Here's what he said about confidence:
I think our confidence has grown. Just because of the inexperience, we've had kind of a feeling out process with how we would do. Game 1 at home was kind of an eye opener a little bit. They played with a lot of desire and passion in the hard areas. I think that was a bit of a lesson for us. The last three games I think we've matched that and the confidence has grown in the room.
What he's saying there is all these young guys on the roster who had either never played in a playoff game or never won one, well they're playing well and feeling good. I can understand that. But Federko pointed to a turning point in the series for McDonald. There was a big hit early where McDonald took a T.J. Galiardi shoulder to his head, cracking McDonald's helmet. He jumped up and there was no call. But for a guy with a concussion...it was a big deal.
It's good to be able to take that type of hit and come back from it with no problems. I think confidence wise, that helped elevate my play a little bit, being able to take those kinds of hits. It's fun. It's fun playing this kind of hockey. The atmosphere has been great in both rinks.
In that instance, confidence is real. Anyone who has tried coming back form injury, playing free and easy can be nearly impossible. Maybe that hit cleared up any doubt in McDonald's own mind that he can do this because ever since that Game 1 moment, he's been a beast.