On April 30, 1988 the Caps absorbed a 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the Patrick Division final series between the two teams at the Capital Centre in Landover.
Having advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in their history, the Capitals forced a Game 7 with a convincing 7-2 victory over the Devils in New Jersey in Game 6. Seven different Capitals scored in that game, and a whopping total of 626 minutes in penalties were assessed to both sides.
Devils forward Kirk Muller staked his team to an early 1-0 lead when he beat Capitals goalie Pete Peeters just 14 seconds after the opening puck drop. The Devils’ Claude Loiselle made it a 2-0 game when he scored on Peeters at 12:01 of the first.
The Caps responded in the second, halving the New Jersey advantage on a Grant Ledyard goal at 15:21 of the period. Kevin Hatcher and Greg Adams assisted on the Ledyard strike. With just six seconds remaining in the middle frame, Caps blueliner Garry Galley evened the score with an unassisted goal on New Jersey goaltender Sean Burke.
With 6:11 left in the third. New Jersey’s John MacLean netted the decisive tally, sending the Caps to a defeat and ending Washington’s season just two weeks after Dale Hunter’s overtime tally enabled the Caps to climb out of a 3-1 series hole against the Flyers and to advance to the second round.