Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals have made a habit of playing in Game Sevens. They have not, however, made a habit of winning them.
Since Ovechkin and the Caps returned to the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2008, seven of their nine playoff series have gone the distance.
Make this eight of 10.
When the Caps and Islanders return to Verizon Center for Game 7 on Monday night, the Caps will be looking to reverse a disturbing trend.
Over the past seven seasons, the Caps are 2-5 in Game Sevens and 1-4 in Game Sevens at Verizon Center.
Here’s a history of the Capitals’ Game Sevens during the Alex Ovechkin era:
April 22, 2008: Flyers 3, Capitals 2, OT Game-winner: Joffrey Lupul
April 28, 2009: Capitals 2, Rangers 1, Game-winner Sergei Fedorov
May 13, 2009: Penguins 6, Capitals 2, Game-winner: Bill Guerin
April 28, 2010: Canadiens 2, Capitals 1, Game-winner: Dominic Moore
April 25, 2012: Capitals 2, Bruins 1, OT, Game-winner: Joel Ward
May 12, 2012: Rangers 2, Capitals 1, Game-winner: Michael DelZotto
May 13, 2013: Rangers 5, Capitals 0, Game-winner: Arron Asham
“A lot of guys haven’t been a part of that history,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “I haven’t. It doesn’t mean anything to me, really.”
It does to many of his players, most of whom can remember the last time they were in this situation two springs ago. It came on May 13, 2013 when the Rangers thrashed them 5-0 in the seventh game of a series the Caps also led 3-2 through five games.
What, John Carlson was asked after Saturday’s loss in Uniondale, do the Caps need to differently on Monday night?
“Uh … win,” Carlson said. “Keep playing the way we are. I think we’re playing good hockey. We’ve got to have a little more killer instinct on a couple of our chances.
“We knew these games were going to be tight. Unless you get that second goal like they did in Game 1 and we did in Game 5, it’s not going to be too many blowouts at this stage of the year.”
Three of the six games in this series have been decided by one goal, with each team winning a game in overtime. The Capitals and Islanders have equally divided 28 goals in the first six games, so it seems only fitting that a series this close should go the distance.
“I think our fans are going to give us very good confidence,” Ovechkin said. “For us it’s a huge step.”
Trotz said he’d like to see the Caps’ faithful be just as influential as the Islanders’ seventh man in the three games at Nassau Coliseum.
“Our fans, hopefully, they’re revved up like the fans here,” Trotz said. “I mean, that’s great energy. No matter what, we’re not going to be back here and the fans were absolutely fantastic.
“That’s what this building has been all about over the years. The three games here have been fantastic. We’re going to need our fans to be what the Islanders fans were. Bring it. Help us along and help us through Game 7.”