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."