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Capitals advance with Game 7 win over Islanders


Capitals advance with Game 7 win over Islanders

Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 2-1 win over the New York Islanders in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series Monday night at Verizon Center:

How it happened: After the Caps surrendered a one-goal lead, rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov became their Game 7 hero when he weaved through three Islanders and roofed a shot over goaltender Jaroslav Halak with 7:18 remaining in regulation to provide the difference in the game. Joel Ward also scored for the Capitals, while Frans Nielsen scored the lone goal for the Islanders.

What it means: It was the Capitals’ first Game 7 victory on home ice since they beat the Penguins in 2009. The Capitals will face the President Trophy-winning New York Rangers in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The best-of-seven is expected to begin on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

Block of the night: With a little more than 5 minutes remaining in the third period Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik blocked a slap shot by Kyle Okposo with his right leg and had to be helped off the ice by defense partner John Carlson. Orpik returned to the ice two shifts later and helped kill off a penalty to Carlson about 2 minutes later.  


How they scored: The Capitals dominated the Islanders through two periods, outshooting them 21-7, but they didn’t break through on the scoreboard until 1:25 remained in the second period.

That’s when Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak appeared to lose sight of a long point shot by Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik and could not control the rebound. Ward, who was parked in the crease, pitch-forked the puck under the prone Halak for his first goal of the 2015 playoffs. 

Ward, who now has 12 goals and 30 points in 46 playoff games, reacted with two leaps into air before being congratulated by his teammates.

Outshot and outplayed through two periods, the Islanders tied the score with 3:13 gone in the third period when center Frans Nielsen took a pass from Thomas Hickey, fought through a stick check by Washington right winger Jason Chimera, and snapped a shot that somehow found its way through the legs of Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

Kuznetsov finished off the Islanders with his goal with 7:18 remaining. He snaked his way through a pair of Islanders and, once Halak committed, he ripped a shot into he top right corner of the net for his team-high third goal of the playoffs.

Caps vs. Rangers: The Caps and Rangers will face each other in the playoffs for the third time on four years. The Caps lost each of their last two series against them in seven games. The Rangers beat the Caps in three of their four regular season meetings, including a 4-2 win at Verizon Center on April 11 in the regular season finale for both teams. The Rangers disposed of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in five games.

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Tarik's 3 Stars: Wilson and Backstrom shine in Caps 3rd straight win

Tarik's 3 Stars: Wilson and Backstrom shine in Caps 3rd straight win

Tom Wilson scored twice, Nicklas Backstrom recorded four helpers and the assistant coaches chipped in with a big assist in Montreal, where the Caps earned a 6-4 victory over the Canadiens on Saturday night.

The win was Washington’s third in a row and seventh in eight games as they close in on another Metro Division title. Caps Coach Barry Trotz, meantime, claimed victory No. 200 in Washington; his next win will equal Bruce Boudreau for second all-time in franchise history.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Tom Wilson, Capitals

Wilson’s all-around game continues to blossom…and the Caps’ big winger continues to fill up the scoresheet. At Bell Centre, he scored back-to-back goals less than four minutes apart in the first period to put the Caps in command. Wilson also missed an empty net in the closing seconds by just a few inches. The soon-to-be 24-year-old now has 13 goals—six more than his previous career high.  

2-Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals

Backstrom notched four assists and, as usual, he did it quietly. And they weren’t cheapies—three of the four helpers were of the primary variety. Backstrom, who has four goals and 12 assists in his last 12 games, has now notched four or more points 20 times in his career. It was also his 11th-career four assist game.

3-Leonhardt and Ohashi, Capitals

That’s right, I’m giving the third star to assistant coaches Brett ‘Stretch’ Leonhardt and Tim Ohashi. They quickly spotted that the Habs were offside on their second goal. And, after a coach’s challenge, the refs agreed. Instead of 2-0, it remained 1-0 and the Caps took full advantage of their second chance, scoring the game’s next four goals.

Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.