SPORTS

Capitals vs. Rangers: 4 things to know for Game 7

05/13/2015 12:14 EDT | Updated 05/13/2016 05:59 EDT
The final game of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is a familiar matchup. For the third time in four years the Rangers and the Capitals are meeting in a Game 7, this time for the right to face Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference final.

Here are four things to know for Wednesday night's showdown at Madison Square Garden (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:30 p.m. ET).

Lundqvist king of Game 7

Outside of perhaps Carey Price, is there any goaltender in the National Hockey League you'd rather have between the pipes for a crucial game than the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist?

Lundqvist has won five straight Game 7s, allowing only four goals with a save percentage of .973. He's allowed 11 goals in the first six games of the current series with the Capitals as the Rangers have rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to square the series.

History is on the Rangers' side, as they've eliminated the Capitals in their last two playoff meetings, both in seventh games with Lundqvist in goal. Two years ago it was 4-3 after the Capitals twice had two-win advantages in the series. In 2012, it was a 2-1 Rangers victory that ended the Caps' season.

Rangers rally

Facing elimination with the clock ticking down in Game 5 at MSG, the Rangers rescued their season with a tying goal by Chris Kreider with 1:41 left in regulation, then an overtime winner by Ryan McDonagh. In Sunday's Game 6 in Washington they jumped out front on a pair of goals by Kreider — one in the opening minute of the first period, the second with one second remaining in the opening frame as New York built a 4-1 lead.

Lundqvist stopped 42 of 45 shots, and though the Caps threatened late with two goals, they couldn't come all the way back, and it ended in a 4-3 Rangers decision that knotted the series.

Holtby last line of defence

Washington goalie Braden Holtby has been equally responsible for keeping the Capitals alive in the playoffs. In 12 starts his goals-against average is 1.71, with a .944 save percentage. He helped get the Capitals past the Islanders in the first round with a 2-1 victory in Game 7.

Holtby was brilliant in Games 3 and 4 against the Rangers in Washington, allowed only one goal in a pair of Capitals victories. He stopped Martin St. Louis on a breakaway in a 1-0 Game 3 victory as he shut down the Rangers.

The Ovechkin factor

Yes, Alex Ovechkin said that the Capitals will win Game 7, and coach Barry Trotz and the rest of the Washington hierarchy are fine with that. Ovechkin, the NHL's goal-scoring leader with 53 in the regular season, stopped a bit short of making a Mark Messier-like guarantee, as the Rangers' captain did in 1994 when he promised his team would defeat the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 to stay alive in their series.

They did, and Messier made sure with a hat trick in the 4-2 triumph. The Rangers won Game 7 in overtime and then went on to defeat Vancouver for the Stanley Cup.

Ovechkin has four goals and four assists in the playoffs, but only one of the goals came against the Rangers. It was a beauty, albeit in a losing cause, drawing the Caps to within a goal of the Rangers in a 3-2 Game 2 loss.

Ovechkin and his teammate and NHL assists leader Nicklas Backstrom haven't had much success when it comes to Game 7s, going just 3-5 while combining for three goals and four assists.

MORE:cbcSports