If Game 7 experience matters, the Washington Capitals won’t be lacking in that department against the New York Rangers Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
As CSNWashington.com notes, this “will be the sixth Game 7 in the playoff careers of Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin. For Caps veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik, it will be his ninth career Game 7.”
Yesterday, Laich waxed rather poetically about how the Capitals need to approach Saturday’s winner-take-all affair.
“You can’t get froze up by the pressure or the intensity,” he said. “You just have to let yourself be free and enjoy it and then after that whatever you are, if you’re a skater, you have to skate, if you’re a shooter, you shoot.”
Laich added: “If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on, now. Lord knows, I can’t change.”
The Caps are 2-3 in Game 7’s in what we’ll call the Alex Ovechkin era, but that losing record means nothing when you consider it was less than three weeks ago they went into Boston and beat the defending Stanley Cup champs in a deciding contest.
Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1
The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.
Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.
As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.
The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.
After stunning the Anaheim Ducks with a Game 7 win in the first round, the Nashville Predators remain in California to take on the San Jose Sharks in the second round. You can catch Game 1 on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.