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Capitals' Mr. Game 7 Justin Williams is ready for Wednesday's 'fight of will' against the Penguins

Capitals' Mr. Game 7 Justin Williams is ready for Wednesday's 'fight of will' against the Penguins

Justin Williams has earned the nickname ‘Mr. Game 7’ for his clutch performances in hockey’s most pressure filled moments.

On Wednesday night at Verizon Center, the 35-year-old three-time Stanley Cup champion will skate in his first Game 7 as a Washington Capital. And, from the sounds of it, he can’t wait for the opportunity to grow his legend.

“The approach is our backs have been against the wall for two games,” Williams said after the morning skate in Arlington, “and now theirs are, too.”

“It’s going to be a fight of will,” he added. “And I can tell you one thing: I’m going to give everything I have tonight, make sure I don’t let my teammates down and everyone in this room is going to do the same. We’ll be fine.”

Williams is 7-0 all-time in Game 7s. In those decisive contests, he’s amassed a whopping seven goals and seven assists. 

Hence the nickname. (Which, for the record, Williams does not like).

“I don’t have any doubts what Justin is going to bring,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s going to bring his all. And his ‘all’ is pretty good.”

Braden Holtby said Williams’ mental approach to big moments is what separates him from the rest.

“Obviously he doesn’t shy away from anything,” Holtby said. “He never does. He’s never scared to make a mistake. He wants to go out there and accomplish something, and those types of guys are usually successful in pressure-filled games.”

“In saying that, we know he’s going to show up,” the goalie continued, “but we can’t lean on him too much. We need to have the full group if we’re going to have success.”

[Related: Penguins goalie Matt Murray will dress tonight, but will not start]

A goal (or two) from Williams wouldn’t hurt, either. He’s still searching for his first tally of the second round after potting three against Toronto.

“You learn a lot more about yourself, your team, your makeup when it’s win or go home,” Williams said. “And so far we’ve answered the bell. Now it’s their turn. Both us will be colliding tonight and I’m expecting an awesome game. We have a will to win that’s burning.”

And, of course, it’s the will to win burning inside Williams that's helped him deliver in the clutch so often.

“This is not the apex, but it’s pretty close,” he said. “This is the stuff you’re thinking of when you’re a kid. This is Game 7, this is do or die, win or go home. This is everyone’s watching, so let’s see what we’ve got.”

Related: Did Evgeni Malkin gaurantee a win for the Penguins in Game 7?

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Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

The Capitals may not be participating in Stadium Series this year, but the team is embracing outdoor hockey around Washington for spirited game day fun.

The Caps are hosting Rock The Rink skates at The Wharf, Penatgon Row, Rockville Town Square and The Avenue at White Marsh on select game days from January to March 2020. Fans attending these events can wear Capitals jerseys or gear to get either $5 off admission or free skate rentals.

The Wharf

Jan. 18 at 1 p.m., Jan. 31 at 6 p.m., and Feb 17. at 1 p.m.

Transit Pier will boast a Capitals-paneled ice rink with an ice resurfacer, trivia contests, giveaways, along with a DJ. The Capitals Campire will also boast Adirondack chairs around a fire to roast marshmallows for smores in front of a 14-foot jumbotron screen to watch the Capitals games. 

Pentagon Row

Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 6 p.m.

These skates will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants. The Caps games will also be on at surrounding bars. 

The Avenue at White March

Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.

This event will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants.

Rockville Town Square

Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. and March 5 at 6 p.m.

In addition to the above fun, Rockville native and Capitals hockey ambassador Haley Skarupa will be there on Jan. 31. You can watch the Capitals game at local bars as well. 

Fans attending these events or using local outdoor rinks this season are encouraged to post about it on social media by tagging @capitals and using the hashtag #RockTheRink to enter themselves for a chance to win prizes.

Caps slept through the first 40 minutes, they did not give Holtby much help though he was bad in his own right and Vrana sure did show something with the game-winning goal.

As for no penalties...not so much.


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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

Down 4-1, the Capitals scored five goals in the third period for the incredible 6-4 comeback win over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick pulling him in a tie with Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals.

Here is how the Caps won.


Ovechkin was hot coming in with five goals in his past two games. He scored midway through the first period, getting a great pass in stride from Nicklas Backstrom to launch him behind the defense. Just as the defense closed in he fired a wrister past Semyon Varlamov to make it 1-0.

There is...pretty much nothing positive to say after that until the third period. There was a great 5-on-3 penalty kill, but it was essentially negated as they allowed a goal soon after. The Islanders built a 4-1 lead through 40 minutes and it looked all but over.

But after Carl Hagelin made it 4-2, Ovechkin pulled the Caps to within one, pulling the vintage back-to-front Ovechkin curl-and-drag before passing to the front where the puck deflected off the boot of Ryan Pulock and in.

After Jakub Vrana made it 5-4, Ovechkin added the empty-netter for the knockout punch.

With three goals, Ovechkin now has 34 on the season. He passed Mario Lemieux and tied Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals. Incredibly, this is the first time in his career Ovechkin has three straight multi-goal games.


Just what exactly lit the fire under the Caps butts for that third period will probably be a talking point after the game. Was it Devon Toews doing the bird celebration after he scored to make it 4-1? Was it pulling Braden Holtby and starting Ilya Samsonov in the third period? Was it something Todd Reirden or one of the players said?

Whatever it was, it was a different Caps team that took the ice for the third period.

Hagelin's turnaround

As great as Ovechkin's performance was -- and it was epic -- it might not happen without the Carl Hagelin's early third-period tally.

The comeback was sparked by Hagelin's goal that came less than three minutes into the final frame. A great pass by Richard Panik set Hagelin up on the doorstep and he hit it home.

That goal made it 4-2 and a two-goal deficit seems a lot less daunting than a three-goal one.

Shaky Varlamov

Once Ovechkin made it 4-3, you could smell the blood in the water. Washington had gotten to Varlamov and the flood gates were open.

Dmitry Orlov took the puck up to the top of the faceoff circle and fired a slap shot that Wilson managed to get a stick to and deflected it through Varlamov to tie the game.

About three minutes later, Vrana intercepted a pass and fired a quick shot to beat Varlamov far-side for the 5-4 lead.

Varlamov faced 10 shots in the third period and allowed four goals. The fifth came on an empty net.