Capitals beat Islanders with 7 minutes to go to advance to 2nd round of NHL playoffs
Rookie Russian forward Evgeny Kuznetsov skated around every opponent on the ice, putting Washington ahead with less than 7 1/2 minutes left in Game 7 Monday as the Capitals beat the New York Islanders 2-1 to advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs.
Kuznetsov scored the sort of athletic, breathtaking goal his better-known teammate, Alex Ovechkin, often does, taking the puck from the right boards and heading across the ice before sending a rising shot over sprawling goalie Jaroslav Halak.
Joel Ward gave Washington a 1-0 lead late in the second period, and Frans Nielsen pulled New York even early in the third. Braden Holtby only needed to make 10 saves.
The Capitals now face the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers, who eliminated Washington from the 2012 and 2013 playoffs — in Game 7 each time.
The Islanders’ loss ends their playing days at Nassau Coliseum, which opened in 1972. The team is moving to Brooklyn next season.
This was the first Game 7 of this year’s NHL playoffs and it was a fitting conclusion to this particular matchup. Through the first six games, each team scored 14 goals. Each won on the road. Each won in overtime. And during the regular season, both finished with 101 standings points, and three of their four head-to-head meetings went to overtime.
Washington, though, controlled Monday’s action, outshooting New York 26-11.
In Detroit, Tyler Johnson scored two goals in his latest stellar performance as the Tampa Bay Lightning held on for a 5-2 victory over the Red Wings, forcing a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series.
Johnson and Jason Garrison scored in the first period, and Johnson added another goal in the second to give the Lightning a 3-0 lead. Tomas Tatar scored twice for Detroit, but Alex Killorn answered with an unassisted goal with 5:09 remaining, and Cedric Paquette added an emptynetter.
Ben Bishop made 22 saves for the Lightning, who led the NHL in goals during the season but had been struggling to score on the Red Wings and goalie Petr Mrazek in this series. Mrazek made a sensational save on Brian Boyle in the second period, but Tampa Bay had already taken a 2-0 lead by that point.
The Detroit Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning push each other behind the Red Wings net during the second period of Game 6 of a first-round NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff series, in Detroit on Monday, April 27.