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Game 7 History Favors Rangers Over Capitals In Stanley Cup Playoffs
Nothing beats a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs and we have a great one on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden as New York hosts Washington and looks to complete a stunning rally from a 3-1 series deficit. The Rangers are -165 favorites with the total at only 4.5 goals. The over is a -130 favorite. The Capitals are -210 on the goal line.
Rangers Nearly Ousted In Game 5
On Friday night, Washington was just 101 seconds away from the team’s first conference final appearance since 1998 — with 1:41 to play in Game 5, the Capitals held both a 1-0 lead on the Rangers and the Madison Square Garden crowd in silent captivity. But Chris Kreider tied the game and Ryan McDonagh won it in overtime.
In Sunday's Game 6 in Washington, the Rangers won 4-3 although they nearly blew a 4-1 lead. Kreider scored the team's first two goals, Rick Nash put his first of the series into the net 54 seconds into the third period, and Dan Boyle tacked on a score that turned out to be vital. Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov and Joel Ward put the puck past Henrik Lundqvist less than three minutes apart to make it a one-goal game with nearly half a period to go. The teams took a combined 73 shots in the game, and both goalies looked exhausted. Lundqvist faced a barrage of shots in the waning minutes and saved them all. Caps goalie Braden Holtby had a .951 save percentage this postseason, entering Sunday’s game, which was the highest in NHL history after a minimum of 10 games.
The Rangers trailed the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in the second round in 2014 and could be the first team to overcome that lead in consecutive years if they win Wednesday. Washington has played one Game 7 this postseason, against the New York Islanders. It will be the fourth time Washington has had to play a Game 7 on the road; the Capitals are 4-9 in Game 7s, 1-2 on the road.
Lundqvist Owns Game 7
Lundqvist's experience in Game 7s should allow him to stay focused Wednesday. He has won an NHL-record five consecutive Game 7s and in six Game 7s has a 1.00 goals-against average and .965 save percentage. Experience is a factor for each team, even though the Rangers have more positive experience with a 5-0 record in Game 7s since 2012. Washington is 2-2 in Game 7s in the same time (the two losses were to the Rangers).
This series is the fifth time the Rangers and Capitals have played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the past seven seasons; four of them have required a Game 7. The Capitals have won more games (17) than the Rangers (15) combined over the five series. Each team has won two series. Of the 32 games, 24 have been decided by one goal, including each of the past six and 11 of the past 12. Including Wednesday, the Rangers and Capitals will have needed 33 of a maximum possible 35 games to finish the five series.
From Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round on April 15, 2009, through Game 6 last Sunday, five players have played in each of the 32 games of the five series: Lundqvist, Capitals forwards Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi and Capitals defenseman Mike Green. Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and Capitals forward Brooks Laich were members of their respective teams but missed games because of injury.
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