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Capitals facing poor Game 7 history at home

by David Satriano

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Washington Capitals couldn't end their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Islanders, losing 3-1 at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday. The best-of-7 series is tied 3-3, and Washington will host Game 7 on Monday at Verizon Center, but that might not be a good thing.

Washington is 3-9 in Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including 2-7 at home. Since 2008, they are 1-4 on home ice.

"Winning is hard," Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said. "It's not going to be easy. It's going to be a seventh game Monday and it's going to be fun. I think our fans are going to give us very good confidence."

Braden Holtby, who made 35 saves Saturday, was in goal for Game 7 when the Capitals lost to the New York Rangers 5-0 at home in the first round of the 2013 playoffs, the last time they played a Game 7.

"We have a different team now," Holtby said.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz agreed, saying the poor record at home will mean nothing come Monday.

"A lot of our guys haven't been a part of that history," Trotz said. "I haven't, so it doesn’t really mean anything to me."

This Game 7 (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, MSG+, CSN-DC) will decide whether the Capitals or Islanders advance to the second round to play the New York Rangers.

"We regroup and play the same game that we did in [a 5-1 win] Game 5," Holtby said. "We showed flashes of it tonight, but I don’t think we were tight enough defensively. We had our chances, and we will have to make sure we have some heroes in Game 7."

The Capitals are 2-1 against the Islanders in the playoffs at Verizon Center and won two games against New York at home during the regular season.

"The three games [at Nassau Coliseum] were fantastic," Trotz said. "We are going to need our fans to do what the Islanders fans did. Bring it, help us along, and help us through Game 7."


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