Goal-tender Jaroslav Halak’s record stood between the Washington Capitals and the semifinals slot as they took on the New York Islanders in Game 7 of the NHL playoff series. Islanders won Game 6.
scored his 3rd goal of the playoffs in his first post-season outing. His spectacular solo effort in the 12:42-minute of the third quarter gave the Capitals 2-1 lead in the final game of the series. He zipped past the chasing Islanders and slotted his shot at the upper net, beating Halak.
As a goal-tender for the Montreal Canadiens, Halak shocked the Capitals in 2010 and entered Game 7 with 4-0 games track-record against Washington. He pulled off 24 saves on Monday night to extend his record and keep the Islanders alive in the game, but was finally beaten by Kuznetsov.
“This is a new group,” said Capitals coach Barry Trotz after his side sealed its place in the Eastern Conference semifinals. “All that old stuff? Get rid of it. Let’s build something. We could feel the energy [from the fans]. We weren’t going to let that game go.”
His side dominated their opponents in the first 40 minutes, mounting pressure on the Islanders in their own zone.
“They were tired. You could see it on some of the guys” said Capitals’ defense-man Brooks Orpik after winning on home-ice.
Joel Ward opened the account for the winners in the 19th minute of the second period after being fed by Alex Ovechkin and Brooks. Nielson tied for the Islanders in the 3rd period, courtesy of a goalie error by Holtby.
But the Islanders lacked punch in the offense side throughout the series as they scored only 14 goals in the first six games, the lowest in the first six since 1979.
There were no penalties in the first two periods as the Capitals out-shot the Islanders.
The capitals now move on to meet the Rangers in the Eastern Conference semifinals scheduled to start later this week.