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Rangers-Capitals Game 7 by the numbers

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 7:21 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals need a seventh game.

This Eastern Conference Second Round series is the fifth time the Rangers and Capitals have played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the past seven seasons; four of them have required a Game 7.

The numbers suggest this deciding game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) will be another close one. They also tell the story of how close these playoff series have been.

Here are some numbers that particularly stand out:

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Preview: Blackhawks, Ducks enter WCF at top of game

NHL.com

The Chicago Blackhawks are back in the Western Conference Final for the fifth time in seven seasons. The Anaheim Ducks have reached the third round for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007.

The Ducks needed nine games to get by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and the Calgary Flames in the second; the Blackhawks needed 10, six games to defeat the Nashville Predators in the first round and a sweep of the Minnesota Wild in the second.

They are led by their top-line center and captain, Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks and Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks. Each can produce on offense but is more comfortable being a versatile leader who can excel in all phases of the game.

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Rangers, Capitals meet in third Game 7 in four years

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 5:46 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals will decide their Eastern Conference Second Round series in Game 7 Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m., ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA). The winner will advance to the Eastern Conference Final and face the winner of the Second Round series between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The clubs will face off in a Game 7 for the third time in four years and for the fourth time overall, each coming in the past seven seasons. Washington won the first such meeting in 2009, while the Rangers have eliminated the Capitals twice in the past three seasons (2012 and 2013).

Since their elimination by the Capitals in 2009, the Rangers have posted five consecutive Game 7 wins. Their streak is one shy of the NHL record set by the Detroit Red Wings, who won six consecutive Game 7s between 1949 and 1964, and the Boston Bruins, who captured six straight between 1983 and 1994. The Rangers also have won six consecutive Game 7s on Madison Square Garden ice, a streak dating to 1992.

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Two-way game makes Saad X-factor for Blackhawks

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 5:34 PM / X-Factor

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Most teams would be thrilled with two two-way stars like Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa on the top line.

Along with Toews and Hossa, the Blackhawks also have 23-year-old Brandon Saad, who’s become a two-way force in his own right. Saad has played left wing with Toews and Hossa most of this season and parts of the past two, and has developed into a near clone of them.

Chicago has three forwards on its top line with speed, size, skill and a thirst for playing defense to get the puck back on their sticks.

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Blackhawks have to 'elevate your game' vs. Ducks

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have played well enough to make it to the Western Conference Final, but they admit they need to take up another level to defeat the Anaheim Ducks.

Chicago won an up-tempo series in the first round against the Nashville Predators and a tight-checking series against the Minnesota Wild in the second round. The Blackhawks said they now expect a combination of both out of the Ducks, who eliminated the Calgary Flames in five games in that second-round series.

"We feel like if you progress in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs], you've got to elevate your game to beat teams that have got a lot of confidence and they've got to be playing the right way," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said after practice Monday. "They've got a lot of things going for them. You look at the first two rounds, they played extremely well. So, we've got to raise it."

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Chabot: Ducks defeated Flames sticking with plan

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 4:31 PM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Western Conference Second Round series between the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames, NHL.com has enlisted the help of Frederic Chabot to break down the action. Chabot will be checking in throughout the series.

Chabot was the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers from 2009 to 2014. He played in the NHL for five seasons, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings.

The Anaheim Ducks have played nine games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and for nine games, Anaheim has remained consistent and stuck to its plan, according to Frederic Chabot.

It's the Ducks' ability to do just that that has led them past the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and the Calgary Flames in the second round. That same ability to not deviate from its blueprint will be key for Anaheim when it faces its most difficult test yet in the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, Chabot said.

"The toughest task for any team against Chicago is not giving up the puck and creating turnovers, and being very disciplined; getting the puck deep and playing in Chicago's zone," Chabot said. "Chicago's No. 1 weapon is its transition; they're so good at scoring off the rush. You want to stay away from that as much as possible.

"I think Anaheim can do it."

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Farrish: Rangers, Capitals need focused forecheck

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 4:12 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Eastern Conference Second Round series between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, NHL.com has enlisted the help of Dave Farrish to break down the action. Farrish will be checking in throughout the series.

Farrish was an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs from 2005-14. He won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. He also coached 1,027 games in the minor leagues, including the American Hockey League. In addition, Farrish, a former defenseman, played 430 games over seven seasons in the NHL.

Dave Farrish has closely watched six games between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Second Round to draw a conclusion that the team that wins Game 7 will be the one that wins the majority of the battles on the wall and doesn't crack in its structure on the forecheck.

Game 7 of the best-of-7 series is Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"That's where the battles are going to be and that's where the test of wills is going to come, winning those one-on-one battles that result in a good forecheck for both teams," Farrish said. "It's going to really come down to which team is going to be able to execute that and not get caught with too many men in deep to give up those 2-on-1s or 3-on-1s going the other way. That's something I'm going to be looking for, which team cracks and gives up the offensive chances against."

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Capitals coach Trotz endorses Ovechkin's prediction

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 2:23 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- In the aftermath of losing Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round to the New York Rangers on Sunday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin took a page from legendary Rangers captain Mark Messier's handbook.

Ovechkin boldly predicted the Capitals would win Game 7 on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). It is Washington's final chance to reach the Eastern Conference Final after losing Games 5 and 6.

Washington is 4-9 in Game 7 since 1987 and has played five of them in its past five Stanley Cup Playoff appearances. On Wednesday, Washington will play in its second Game 7 after defeating the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference First Round.

If the Capitals win this Game 7, they would play either the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Montreal Canadiens in their first conference final since 1998.

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Five reasons Ducks advanced to Western Final

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 1:45 PM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

The last time the Anaheim Ducks made it this far, Bruce Boudreau hadn't yet coached a game in the NHL and Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were baby-faced second-line forwards.

For the first time since they won the Stanley Cup in 2007, Anaheim will play in the Western Conference Final after it eliminated the Calgary Flames in Game 5 of the second round on Sunday.

It has come together impressively and efficiently for Anaheim to set up a showcase series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Boudreau advanced to a conference final for the first time, and Getzlaf and Perry lead a team that is 8-1 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It hasn't been easy, though: Six of the Ducks' eight wins came after Anaheim trailed at any point in the game.

"They're determined," Boudreau said. "We talked about it before the game [Sunday]. We're committed and we're determined. Not to say that Chicago is not committed or determined, and they're going to prove to be as tough a foe as you could possibly get. But at the same time … these guys have had a chance all year, that's why our third-period record is so good and [our] one-goal situations are so good. When they get that opportunity, they dig deep."

Here are five reasons the Ducks advanced:

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Seven matchups to watch in Rangers-Capitals Game 7

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 12:34 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Here they are again, the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, in a Game 7, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, for the fourth time in the past seven seasons.

There was some doubt it would happen again this year; the Capitals took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series, but the Rangers rallied to win Game 5 in overtime and held on to win Game 6 in regulation to force the series back to Madison Square Garden for Game 7 on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Rangers have won five consecutive Game 7s, going back to the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators. Two of those Game 7 wins have come against the Capitals, including 5-0 in the 2013 conference quarterfinals.

The Rangers have won five consecutive Game 7s, going back to the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators. Two of those Game 7 wins have come against the Capitals, including 5-0 in the 2013 conference quarterfinals.

Washington has won two of its past four Game 7s, including 2-1 against the New York Islanders in the first round this year.

New York is 13-3 in its past 16 games when facing elimination, including 7-1 in six playoff rounds under coach Alain Vigneault. The Capitals are 3-10 in their past 13 games when they have the ability to close a series, including 1-3 under coach Barry Trotz this season.

The following seven matchups could decide who moves on to the Eastern Conference Final:

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Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter