Thanks to sage old Sergei Fedorov and a monumental comeback, the Washington Capitals are headed to the second round of the NHL playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
Fedorov beat Henrik Lundqvist with 4:59 left in the third period, and the Capitals edged the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 7 on Tuesday night, becoming the 21st team in NHL history to win a series after trailing 3-1.
It's also the franchise's first series victory since the 1997-98 season, when Washington made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. It must feel particularly sweet to the 16 players who were on the team a year ago, when the Capitals also trailed 3-1 in the first round, and also forced a Game 7 at home - only to lose to Philadelphia in overtime.
The Capitals will face Pittsburgh next.
New York's Nik Antropov and Washington's Alexander Semin traded first-period goals. Fedorov took a pass from Matt Bradley on his winner and, with Rangers defenseman Wade Redden screening Lundqvist, sent a shot inside the far post.
N.Y. Rangers100-1Washington101-2 First Period-1, N.Y. Rangers, Antropov 2 (Dubinsky, Avery), 5:35. 2, Washington, Semin 5 (Backstrom, Green), 15:34.
Third Period-3, Washington, Fedorov 1 (Bradley), 15:01.
Shots on Goal-N.Y. Rangers 8-6-1-15. Washington 2-9-13-24. Goalies-N.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist. Washington, Varlamov. A-18,277 (18,277). T-2:19.
HURRICANES 4, DEVILS 3: Carolina stole their thrilling first-round series from New Jersey in the final 80 seconds.
Jussi Jokinen and Eric Staal scored in a 48-second span late in the third period and the Hurricanes stunned the Devils in Game 7 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
It was the second shocking loss for the Devils in the series. They lost Game 4 on a goal by Jokinen with 0.2 seconds to play. This time they gave away the series in the final 1:20.
Jokinen tied the game after taking a great cross-ice setup by Joni Pitkanen. Staal then buried the Devils with a shot from the middle of the right circle with 31.7 seconds to play.
Carolina next plays top-seeded Boston.
Tuomo Ruutu and Ray Whitney also scored for Carolina.
Brian Rolston, Jay Pandolfo and Jamie Langenbrunner connected for New Jersey.
Carolina112-4New Jersey210-3 First Period-1, Carolina, Ruutu 1 (Cullen, Seidenberg), 1:02. 2, New Jersey, Langenbrunner 2 (Parise, Zajac), 2:31. 3, New Jersey, Pandolfo 1 (Madden, Shanahan), 13:27.
Second Period-4, Carolina, Whitney 3 (Staal, LaRose), 3:42. 5, New Jersey, Rolston 1 (Gionta, Shanahan), 8:47 (pp).
Third Period-6, Carolina, Jokinen 3 (Pitkanen, Gleason), 18:40. 7, Carolina, Staal 5 (LaRose, Gleason), 19:28.
Shots on Goal-Carolina 9-10-12-31. New Jersey 9-14-12-35. Goalies-Carolina, Ward. New Jersey, Brodeur. A-17,625 (17,625). T-2:31.