Jordan Staal tied it in the third period, Brock McGinn scored in the second overtime and the Carolina Hurricanes raged back to paralyze the Washington Capitals 4-3 in Game 7 on Wednesday night to dispose of the defending Stanley Cup champions.
McGinn jumped to prevent a goal in the last minutes of guideline and after that scored 11:05 into the second additional period, and Petr Mrazek made 34 saves to proceed with an annoyed overwhelming first round of the NHL playoffs. Carolina had the initial nine shots of the first OT and 11 of 15 total, with mentor Rod Brind’Amour’s group indicating it had bounty left in the tank.
Carolina demonstrated the equivalent never-quit attitude that helped it end the NHL’s longest playoff drought following 10 years by driving a choosing seventh game and deleting a 3-1 deficiency in it. Top-line advances Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen beat shockingly unsteady Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who permitted four goals on 42 shots.
“Time and time again we’ve just manned up,” said Hurricanes captain Justin Williams, who had an assist on McGinn’s winner. “It would have been easy to fold up, especially against a team like that. … Our guys really fought.”
The Hurricanes’ surge back in the series without concussed winger Andrei Svechnikov and harmed winger Micheal Ferland made it the first run through league history that every one of the four division champions were knocked out in the first round. Game 7 misfortunes by Vegas and Washington on consecutive nights dispensed with the two groups from a year ago’s Cup last in progression.
In one of the strangest first rounds in recent history, the Hurricanes beating the Capitals doesn’t rank at the highest point of impossible results after Columbus cleared Presidents’ Trophy winning Tampa Bay and Colorado finished off Western Conference top seed Calgary in five. With each of the four wild-card groups winning, Carolina presently faces previous Capitals mentor Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders in the second round beginning Friday in Brooklyn.
It looked after a lopsided Game 5 and several two-goal leads by the Capitals in Game 7 that they were ready to proceed onward. Yet, the Hurricanes shut the gap in the second time frame, tied the score on Staal’s third goal of the series 2:56 into the third, constrained overtime and celebrated on Washington’s home ice.
Williams – “Mr. Game 7” with a NHL-record 15 points in the deciding games – and the Hurricanes celebrated their first series triumph since 2009, while the Capitals lost in the first round out of the first time since 2013. In spite of goals by Andre Burakovsky, Tom Wilson and Evgeny Kuznetsov and a monster game from captain Alex Ovechkin, Washington tumbled to 4-8 in Game 7 amid the Ovechkin period.
The Capitals joined the Predators and Penguins as groups that all succeeded at least one series every one of the previous three years yet neglected to escape the first round in these playoffs. They were harmed by a season-finishing torn left hamstring to defenseman Michal Kempny and a broken collarbone on winger T.J. Oshie, whose appearance in the last minutes of guideline started up the group yet wasn’t sufficient to start an OT win.