Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has guaranteed a Game 7 win over the New York Rangers in their second-round Stanley Cup Playoff series.
Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is doing a Joe Namath.
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Ovechkin, the Capitals' team captain, told reporters after his team's 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 6 of their second-round Stanley Cup Playoff series on Sunday they will come back and win Game 7 on the road, per ESPN's Katie Strang:
"We're going to come back and win the series," Ovechkin told the media on Sunday. "We're going to play our game, and we're going to come back to play (the) Montreal (Canadiens) or Tampa (Bay Lightning)."
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz told Strang the day after Ovechkin's bold prediction "he's okay" with it:
"I saw that, and that's what leaders do. I think leaders say, this is what we need to do, this is what we're going to do. I think I have a lot more respect for someone who will be bold enough to say, 'I'm the leader of the hockey team, we're going to go there and give our best game, we're going to win the hockey game.'"
His counterpart, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault, also weighed in on Ovechkin's prediction, per The Washington Post's Isabelle Khurshudyan:
"To tell you the truth, I hadn't heard about the comment, but at the end of the day, I would expect both players from both teams to want to come in and win.
"For us, our focus and our preparation is going to be on what we need to do for this Game 7. We've had some experience in the past and we know we need to stay in the moment and focus on the process. That's what we're going to concentrate on doing on Wednesday.
"It's just staying focused on what needs to be done here and using logic. Is it logical to assume that both players from both teams are going to want to win Game 7? Is it logical to assume that we're going to do everything we can prepare ourselves go out on the ice and execute.
"We were less than two minutes away from our season being over. We crawled our way back in. We're still breathing. We found a way to win Game 5, then we found a way to win Game 6. Now, we're going to try to find a way to win Game 7.
"Both teams are going to try real hard. Both teams expect that they can win. It's going to be a great game."
The Capitals established the early 3-1 series lead before losing the next two games to the Rangers. Ovechkin has not scored in the last four games of the series, per Strang.
The ESPN update says the same Rangers team overcame a 3-1 series deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins in last year's playoffs and eventually reached the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Finals in a losing effort against the Los Angeles Kings.
Now, the Capitals and Rangers are facing each other in a Game 7 for the third time in four seasons, per The Washington Post's Alex Prewitt.
Washington has already failed to close out a seven-game series five times after leading 3-2 since drafting Ovechkin back in 2005. The Capitals enter the Game 7 showdown against the Rangers with a .250 winning percentage in a do-or-die scenario, per Prewitt.
Trotz told Prewitt on Monday history is on the Capitals' side:
"The odds are in our favor. We can change that history. I do believe the Boston Red Sox won a World Series, right? They went a long stretch there, right? But they did win, right? The odds were in their favor at some point.
"That's what I'm saying. The odds are in our favor. This group can do something, and you want to change history. You want to change perception. You just go out and do it. I think that should motivate you, not bring you down. That to me should be very motivating."
The NHL announced Game 7 between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers is set for Wednesday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden in New York City, per the former team's official website.
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