The New York Rangers eliminated the Washington Capitals from the National Hockey League playoffs with a Game 7 victory for the second year in a row, winning 5-0 to complete the second-round lineup.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist recorded his second straight shutout as the Rangers won the best-of-seven first-round series four games to three. Arron Asham, Taylor Pyatt, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan Callahan and Mats Zuccarello scored goals for New York, which erased a 3-2 playoff series deficit for the third time in franchise history.
“The way we played in such important games, I think it’s going to help us moving forward,” said Lundqvist, who became the first goalie to record shutouts in Games 6 and 7 of a playoff series since Dominik Hasek for the Detroit Red Wings in 2002. “We set the tone in the first period with the way we wanted to play. It’s a great feeling right now.”
The Rangers, the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, advance to face the Boston Bruins, who stunned the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime after rallying from a three-goal third-period deficit in their decisive Game 7.
It was the first time in NHL history that a team won the seventh game in a playoff series after trailing by three goals in the third period. The Bruins scored two goals in the final one minute, 22 seconds to force overtime, including Patrice Bergeron’s tying goal with 51 seconds remaining. Bergeron then scored off a rebound 6:05 into overtime to send the Bruins into the second round for the fourth time in five years.
“Everything went right for us in the last 10 minutes,” said Bruins left wing Milan Lucic, who had a goal and an assist.
It’s the second time teams from Boston and New York will meet in a postseason series this year. The New York Knicks beat the Boston Celtics in six games in the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Penguins face the Ottawa Senators in the other Eastern Conference semifinal, with Game 1 tonight in Pittsburgh.
In the Western Conference’s second-round matchups, the Chicago Blackhawks meet the Red Wings and the defending Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings play the San Jose Sharks. Game 1 of that series is tonight in Los Angeles.
After five straight playoff games between the Rangers and Capitals that were decided by one goal, New York dominated Washington on the road in Game 7. It was the first game in the series won by the visiting team, and ended a run of 10 postseason games between the teams in which the host won.
Asham scored midway through the first period to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead, while Pyatt and Del Zotto scored goals just over two minutes apart early in the second period. Callahan netted New York’s fourth goal 13 seconds into the third period and Zuccarello scored with 13:21 left.
Lundqvist stopped all 35 shots he faced for his eighth postseason shutout.
“He’s the best goalie in the world for a reason and you’ve seen that the last two games,” Callahan said.
The Rangers’ defense prevented Washington’s Alex Ovechkin from scoring a goal in the final six games of the series after he led the NHL with 32 during the regular season.
The Rangers also ousted the Capitals in the 2012 playoffs, winning 2-1 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Bruins trailed 4-1 at home before fighting back to deny Toronto its first playoff series win since 2004.
Nathan Horton got the comeback started with his fourth goal of the playoffs 9:18 into the third period.
Lucic scored with 1:22 remaining to pull the Bruins within one goal, and Bergeron tied it 31 seconds later. Bergeron then added the winner in overtime, firing a 12-foot wrist shot past Toronto goaltender James Reimer after a scramble in front of the Maple Leafs’ net.
“Losing is hard, losing after having a 4-1 lead, there’s nothing you can say to explain how and why it happened,” Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. “It happened. We’ll be doing a lot of assessing between now and the NHL draft, I’m sure.”
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