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Game 7 - Caps can become only team to make second round for 5 years running

April 24, 2019, 3:31 PM ET [38 Comments]
Marcus Boutilier
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
They say you are never out of a series until you lose a game at home and the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes have tested that theory since game 1. With the home team winning every game of the series so far, the Caps will be hoping to continue that trend tonight in Game 7.

After failing on a chance to eliminate the Hurricanes on Monday night, the Caps earned home-ice advantage in the regular season for times like this. Washington has never won 4 games at home in a playoff series before so they will need to dodge some history to win. The last game 7 the Caps played in went well as they went into Tampa Bay last spring and won the 3rd round series over the Lightning.

There has been some talk of the ice in Carolina not being very good and so I feel the Caps will be better able to make stretch passes and plays in tight indicative of games 1,2 and their best game of the series in game 5. One trend that was bucked in Game 6 was that the team that scored first (Washington) did not win and the series had its first lead change when Carolina went ahead 3-2 in the 3rd.

While team captain Justin Williams gives the Canes some confidence and experience with game 7’s winning 7 of 8 times, the Caps Carl Hagelin is 8-1 including winning vs his new team in DC. Should the Caps win tonight, Hagelin will be the only player in NHL history with 9 wins in game 7. That’s insane.

Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Tom Wilson have been in on 11 of the 17 goals Washington has scored as their line has been solid including playing a heavy forecheck. However, the depth scoring the Caps relied on during the regular season (7 players had 20+ goals) has been lacking a little although Brett Connolly has now scored n two straight games. With the ability for last change tonight, Caps coach Todd Reirden will look to get his lines out in positions to succeed, so it’s all up to the players to perform now.

Carolina will still be without Michal Ferland and Jordan Martinhook is a game-time decision. Andrei Svechnikov skated this morning and there was no update on his status, though I would think he is still out from post-concussion syndrome after the fight with Ovechkin.

The Capitals lineup remains the same and Braden Holtby will start in his 89th playoff gamer tonight.

The Capitals play in their 128th playoff game since 2008 tonight with only Chicago Blackhawks playing more in that span. They are also one of only 3 teams to reach the second round of the playoffs every year for the last 4 years. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators are the other teams and they have been eliminated so with a Caps win they would be the only team to reach the second round in 2015-2019.

Game time is 7:30 PM EST from Capital One Arena.
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