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Features

Ward scores another clutch goal for Capitals

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 12:55 AM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTONWashington Capitals forward Joel Ward has a way of stepping up when it really matters. He did it again Monday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Islanders.

He can’t explain why. He just knows it’s a lot of fun. 

"You want to be in that moment," Ward said. "You want to make plays and you want to be that guy. I just happened to get a few bounces and get to put it in."

Three years ago, Ward scored the deciding goal in overtime of Game 7 against the Boston Bruins in the first round to help the Capitals advance.

"We just wanted to play hard and put everything aside and play for each other," Ward said. "We worked hard this year as a group and we came together, we just wanted to execute the best we could."

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Islanders lament failure to extend Coliseum's life

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 12:35 AM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

WASHINGTON -- You could hear a pin drop in the New York Islanders dressing room Monday night, minutes after their season ended in a 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Verizon Center.

A season that began with so much promise, one the Islanders hoped would provide Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum with a proper sendoff before play begins at Barclays Center in Brooklyn this fall, instead ended the same way it has each year since 1993: without a series victory in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Things were supposed to be different this season, starting with the acquisition of goalie Jaroslav Halak from, ironically, the Capitals. The Islanders signed forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin during unrestricted free agency, then landed defensemen Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk in trades one week before the season got underway.

"It's a tough feeling," said captain John Tavares, the face of the franchise who didn't have a shot on goal in Game 7. "It's hard to believe it's over. You fight so hard, you put so much into the season, you put so much into the series. You're so close. Game 7, you lose by a goal.

"We're disappointed for [the fans]. I don't think we talked about it a whole lot, but we know what this season meant at the Coliseum and how they responded for us was absolutely tremendous. We couldn't have asked for anything better."


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Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Monday, April 27

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 12:34 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations

KUZNETSOV NETS SERIES-CLINCHING GOAL IN GAME 7 TO LIFT CAPITALS INTO SECOND ROUND

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the series-clinching goal with 7:18 remaining in the third period of Game 7 to power the Capitals into the Eastern Conference Second Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* The Capitals improved to 4-9 in 13 all-time Game 7s. The victory was the club's first win in a Game 7 since April 25, 2012, at the Boston Bruins (2-1 OT W in CQF). The victory was also the second time in franchise history where the Capitals won a Game 7 in regulation. The other such instance was on April 28, 2009, vs. the New York Rangers (2-1 W in CQF).

* Kuznetsov's goal was his first career game-winning goal in the postseason. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kuznetsov became the first rookie in franchise history to score a series-clinching goal in a Game 7. Elias also says the last time any rookie scored a series-clinching goal in a Game 7 was the New Jersey Devils' Adam Henrique on April 26, 2012, at the Florida Panthers (3-2 2OT W in the CQF).

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Capitals end Game 7 slump with win vs. Islanders

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 12:26 AM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON – For the fourth time in the Washington Capitals' past four Stanley Cup Playoff appearances, they were playing in a Game 7. All they had to do was win.

The Capitals defeated the New York Islanders 2-1 at Verizon Center to advance to the Eastern Conference Second Round and will play a familiar foe, the New York Rangers.

The previous two times Washington had to play seven games in a playoff series, they came home empty-handed. Washington is 4-9 in Game 7s since 1987.

The Capitals defeated the defending-champion Boston Bruins in seven games in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, but then lost in seven to the Rangers in the second round.

The Rangers eliminated the Capitals again in seven games in the first round in 2013.

Goaltender Braden Holtby has been in net for the Capitals in 27 of the 28 games played in those four seven-game series -- he sat out Game 2 against the Islanders last week when he became ill.

"It was a different game in the past, that’s for sure," Holtby said. "It’s not exactly what I was expecting, but I think the experience paid off for a lot of our guys that realized what it takes in a Game 7. Realistically the effort we put forward, we might not even had to put 60 [minutes], but we just couldn’t get a couple bounces to go our way and we just kept pushing."

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Capitals advance, will face Rangers in playoffs again

Monday, 04.27.2015 / 10:40 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The Washington Capitals and New York Rangers will meet again in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, this time in the 2015 Eastern Conference Second Round.

Washington defeated the New York Islanders 2-1 in Game 7 at Verizon Center on Monday to win its first-round series.

The Capitals and Rangers will open the second round at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are guaranteed to start every playoff series on home ice because they won the Presidents' Trophy with 113 points.

New York advanced with a five-game, first-round win against the Pittsburgh Penguins; the Rangers defeated the Penguins 2-1 in overtime in Game 5 at the Garden on Friday.

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Canucks feel aging core can still compete

Monday, 04.27.2015 / 9:59 PM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVERVancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin was the first to admit he isn’t getting any younger, but after an early exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs he expects Vancouver is going to.

Facing questions about an aging core that is 3-12 in the playoffs since reaching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, Henrik and Daniel Sedin stressed the importance of a continued influx of youth next season. But neither was ready to entertain a rebuild, not after bouncing back from missing the playoffs last year to finish second in the Pacific Division this season.

"We have no plans of getting any worse," Henrik said. "We’re not young anymore but we showed this year we can still be a big part, we can be productive and I don’t see that changing in the next couple of years. With the young guys coming up I think they are going to give us a chance to win in the next couple of years."

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Starting time set for Game 7 of Lightning, Red Wings

Monday, 04.27.2015 / 9:57 PM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League today announced that the start time of Game 7 of the series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings has been set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 29, in Tampa Bay.

In the U.S., the game will be televised on NBCSN. In Canada, the game will be televised on CBC and TVA Sports.

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Relentless on forecheck, Cogliano is Ducks' X-factor

Monday, 04.27.2015 / 7:50 PM / X-Factor

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- It's hard to believe the Anaheim Ducks once had trouble finding a role for Andrew Cogliano.

But after Bruce Boudreau replaced Randy Carlyle as Ducks coach 24 games into the 2011-12 season, Boudreau had to play Cogliano at center and both wing positions to fill holes and to try to find a place for Cogliano.

Nothing worked.

"I remember him apologizing [because] I played in different positions and it was hard," Cogliano said. "But also, for me, I don't think I played nearly as capable as I needed to in that first year, which made me one of those guys that was easy to move around. We were both on the same page in terms of I just needed to be put in a spot and be given a role and told what to do."

The 27-year-old left wing has since found a role and thrived in it for the Ducks, who will play the Calgary Flames in the Western Conference Second Round.

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Doughty, Karlsson, Subban voted Norris finalists

Monday, 04.27.2015 / 7:00 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK – Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens are the three finalists for the 2014-15 James Norris Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” the National Hockey League announced today.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association submitted ballots for the Norris Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

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Blackhawks' Bickell could be X-factor vs. Wild again

Monday, 04.27.2015 / 6:17 PM / X-Factor

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Minnesota Wild tend to bring out the best in Bryan Bickell during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Chicago Blackhawks are banking on it happening again in the Western Conference Second Round as they prepare to face Minnesota for the third consecutive postseason. Bickell, a 6-foot-4, 223-pound power forward, had a combined seven goals and three assists in the Blackhawks' series victories against Minnesota the previous two seasons.

Last year, he scored four goals and had two assists in a second-round series that Chicago won in six games.

"I don’t know [why]," Bickell said. "I have to look over the video to see how I scored those goals to see what I need to do to be successful against this team. It's a new season, a new series. Things change. Different players need to step up."

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Quote of the Day

It was a different game in the past, that's for sure. It's not exactly what I was expecting but I think the experience paid off for a lot of our guys that realized what it takes in a Game 7. Realistically the effort we put forward, we might not even had to put 60 [minutes], but we just couldn't get a couple bounces to go our way and we just kept pushing.

— Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby on Washington's play in Game 7 vs. the Islanders