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Capitals aren't surprised to need Game 7 vs. Islanders

by Jon Lane /



Best-of-7 series is tied 3-3

Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz said at the end of Game 2 of the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Islanders that he was prepared to go the distance if necessary.

Preparation will meet opportunity for the Capitals and Islanders in Game 7 on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, MSG+, CSN-DC). The winner will play the New York Rangers in the second round.

"They're the games you want to play in," Capitals defenseman Mike Green said in video posted by Monumental Network. "Just go after it. You can't be scared of the challenge and we just have to have the right mind frame and I think it starts with that.

"If you can't get up for Game 7 you're not human or an athlete."

It's fitting that this series will go the distance as the Capitals and Islanders each had 101 points and more than 45 wins in the regular season. They've been even in the first round too, with each team scoring 14 goals through six games.

"They're sick of talking about us and we're sick of talking about them, so we go down to Game 7 and it's the way the series has played out and the way it's going to be," Trotz said. "It's probably going to be a fitting ending to go to Game 7 because they're two very evenly matched teams."

For the Capitals it's a chance to reverse their dubious Game 7 history. Washington is 3-9 in Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and 1-4 at home in Game 7s since 2008. In their most recent Game 7 at home they lost 5-0 to the Rangers in the 2013 playoffs. They've lost four Game 7s at home in the past seven years.

"I think they've learned; I hoped they learned," Trotz said. "I think you have to embrace everything. Embrace a Game 7. The great thing is if you've had failure in the past … odds are on your side you're going to break that trend. The other thing is the odds are you can make some history on your own and the past really doesn't matter."

For the Islanders to win their first playoff series since 1993 they likely will have to improve a power play that has gone 0-for-13 in the series.

"We've had some good looks all series," center John Tavares said in audio provided by the Islanders. "I don't think we've been as sharp as we'd like to be but we've had some chances. We just have to do a better job at getting at some of those rebounds. … good opportunities, getting to the net a little bit more when we shoot the puck."

Goaltending also has been a factor. Washington's Braden Holtby has a 1.75 goals-against average and .945 save percentage, including a 1.44 GAA and .957 save percentage in the past four games. New York's Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves in Game 6 and has a 2.34 GAA and .926 save percentage.

"The teams that go on and the teams that are successful, it starts in goal," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "It's not a surprise that those guys are there."


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