It will be a double dose of Game 7 drama on Monday.
Both the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs held on Sunday in must-win situations on home ice to force a deciding game in their respective Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series.
The Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals 1-0 on Sunday in Game 6 at Madison Square Garden to continue the home-ice dominance that has defined this extremely-close series. Derick Brassard scored the only goal of the game, ripping a shot past Braden Holtby midway through the second period. New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist, meanwhile, made 27 saves for the shutout.
Now, the Capitals hope that the home-ice charm continues Monday when Game 7 is played at Verizon Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2), where the Capitals are 3-0 in the series and have held the Rangers to two goals.
Washington has won 10 of its past 11 home playoff games against the Rangers dating to April 24, 2009, with the Capitals’ lone loss during that stretch coming in Game 3 of last year’s second-round meeting, a triple-overtime affair.
The Rangers are 0-5 all-time in Game 7s on the road.
Washington will be heading to its third straight Game 7 after beating the Boston Bruins and losing to the Rangers last year.
"They kept our most dangerous weapon off the ice, our power play," Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. "They got the one good bounce to go in, and we didn't have an answer for it. It's very frustrating that you have to go for Game 7 [Monday], but that's the way it is sometimes."
Each of the past five games of the Washington-New York series has been decided by one goal, including two that required overtime. Of the 13 games these clubs have contested in the 2012 and 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 11 have been one-goal decisions.
Meanwhile, there will be an unexpected Game 7 at TD Garden on Monday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).
For the upstart Maple Leafs, not only have they survived two straight elimination games, but they won at Air Canada Centre on Sunday night in Game 6, the team's first home playoff victory since 2004, the last time it qualified for the postseason.
On April 20 of that year, the Maple Leafs notched a 4-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Toronto is also attempting to win a best-of-7 series after trailing 3-1 for the second time. In 1942, the Maple Leafs made history by overcoming a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final.
Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel scored for Toronto and goalie James Reimer was brilliant yet again, stopping 29 of 30 shots. He held the Bruins off the board until Milan Lucic scored with under 30 seconds remaining. It is the second-straight game that Reimer has held Boston to just one goal.
The Bruins and Maple Leafs will meet in a Game 7 for just the third time in their 89-season rivalry and for the first time since April 7, 1959, when Toronto skated away with a 3-2 win at Boston Garden to win their semifinal series.
"I think tonight was definitely (bad) puck management," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We talked about it before the game and we talked about it after the first period. That sometimes means being strong on the puck, making the right plays, shooting versus over-passing. I didn't think it was very good and as I said to our players, we've been a Jekyll-and-Hyde team all year, and that's what you're seeing right now. I think it's important for us to bring the good Bruins team to the table for Game 7."