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Capitals, Hurricanes to play Game 7 with trip to second round on line

Washington's Ovechkin 4-7 in situation; Carolina's Williams will look to increase points record

by Sean McCullen / Staff Writer

The Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes will play Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Washington on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS, NBCSWA, FS-CR).

The Hurricanes forced Game 7 with a 5-2 win Monday that tied the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series.

"I was fortunate enough that it was me," Carolina forward Jordan Staal said of scoring the go-ahead goal in Game 6. "Everyone was a piece of that game. We're going to [need] to have that in Game 7."

The home team has won each game in the series.

"I don't think anyone expected it to be easy," Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "They played well all series. We were up 2-0 and we were probably fortunate to be up 2-0, and we've been good on home ice and now we have a Game 7, and it is probably good that we have home ice."


[RELATED: Complete Capitals vs. Hurricanes series coverage]


It will be the first Game 7 between Washington and Carolina.

The Capitals are 5-11 in Game 7. They defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 in the 2018 conference final before defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in five games for their first Stanley Cup championship.

Video: WSH@CAR, Gm6: Williams' deft tip-in goal pads lead

The Hurricanes are 4-0 in Game 7 since relocating from Hartford for the 1997-98 season. They had two Game 7 victories in 2006 to win the Cup for the only time (4-2 against Buffalo Sabres in conference final and 3-1 against Edmonton Oilers in Cup Final).

Carolina also won twice in Game 7 the last time it made the playoffs prior to this season, in 2009 (4-3 against New Jersey Devils in Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and 3-2 in overtime against Boston Bruins in conference semifinals).

Hurricanes forward Justin Williams, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, including in 2006 with Carolina, is 7-1 in Game 7, his only loss coming with the Capitals against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2017 second round. He has an NHL-record 14 points, including a record-tying seven goals (Glenn Anderson).

"We answered the bell," said Williams, who scored a goal in Game 6. "I said from the start of the series, if they're going to knock us out, we're not going to let it be easy on them. Let's go play another game."

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is 4-7 in Game 7. He has four goals and three assists.

Washington goalie Braden Holtby is 3-4 in Game 7, all with the Capitals. He has a 1.81 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.

"Any experience helps, but it's a matter if you use it or not," Holtby said. "When it comes down to one game, you use everything that you have. Whether it's experience throughout the year, you put it all on the line for one game and make sure you have everyone on board. That's going to be our focus going forward."

Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek made 15 saves on 16 shots for the Detroit Red Wings in a 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay in his only Game 7, in the 2015 first round.

It will be the first Game 7 for Capitals coach Todd Reirden and Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour, each in his first NHL season. staff writer Tom Gulitti and correspondent Kurt Dusterberg contributed to this report 

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