"When he has the chance to get that thing off he can shoot it, and he did tonight. Experience sometimes pays off and he knew what he had to and when to do it. That's what makes him one of the greatest players ever."
-- Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau on Sergei Fedorov
On Tuesday night at the Verizon Center, it was like 1998 all over again as Fedorov scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 and propelled the Washington Capitals past the New York Rangers 2-1 and into an Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Fedorov carried the puck down the right side into the Rangers' zone. As New York defenseman Wade Redden gave ground, Fedorov slammed on the brakes and wired a wrister to the short side, over Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist's glove.
It's the first time the Caps have advanced to the second round of the playoffs since 1998, the only time the Capitals have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final. Those Caps were swept by the Detroit Red Wings -- and the winning goal in Game 3, played in Washington, was scored by Fedorov.
Caps owner Ted Leonsis talked to Fedorov after the game and reminded him of his goal.
"We had a little conversation about it," Fedorov said. "I feel bad, I don't know what to say. People like 10, 12 years later are still talking about it."
They'll be talking about this one for another 10 or 12 years. It was Fedorov's first of the series, and came amid whispers that at age 39, he was on his last legs. Even Fedorov made a joke of his being the old man on the team because, "It's true."
Fedorov became the oldest player to score a game-winning goal in a Game 7 (39 years, 136 days). It was his third goal in a Game 7 and the 12th playoff game-winner of his career.
"He's our leader," said Ovechkin, who was on the ice for the winning goal. "He's our best guy in the locker room. He showed it. He's our best guy. He has more experience than anybody in this locker room. He knows how to play like that. He just shows his leadership."
"He's got quite a shot," said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau. "When he has the chance to get that thing off he can shoot it, and he did tonight. Experience sometimes pays off and he knew what he had to and when to do it. That's what makes him one of the greatest players ever."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org