Washington Capitals Game 7 history: Caps go for another elimination win

The Capitals mob Dale Hunter after scoring the overtime goal to win Game 7 over the Flyers in 1988. (Photo: YouTube)

For just the 12th time in team history, but the second in this year's playoffs, the Washington Capitals will play in a winner-take-all, series deciding game.

We hesitate to use the cover-all "Game 7" term, since one of them was a Game 5, but regardless, history has not been kind to the Capitals when all the chips are on the table.

Despite their dramatic 2-1 overtime win over Boston in Game 7 of this year's Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, the Capitals are 3-8 all time in games in which the winner moves on and the loser goes golfing.

There has been dramatic victory and sudden heartbreak throughout the Capitals history in these games. Here's a brief look back at each time the franchise has played in one of these pivotal games.

1985 Patrick Division semifinals: Back when the first round of the playoffs was a best of 5, the Capitals and New York Islanders went the distance. At the Capital Centre, the Islanders completed a comeback from down 2-0 in the series with a 2-1 series-clinching win.

1987 Patrick Division semifinals: In a game now known as the Easter Epic, the Capitals and Islanders went four overtimes to decide a series victor. Finally, 68:47 into overtime in the wee hours of Easter morning, Pat LaFontaine spun, fired and knocked Washington out of the playoffs.

1988 Patrick Division semifinals: One year later, the Capitals had another chance to win a Game 7 in overtime, and this time, Dale Hunter was the hero. A back-and-forth series with the Philadelphia Flyers ended with a play known simply by Caps fans as "The Goal."

1988 Patrick Division finals: The culmination of a wild, high-scoring series was a 3-2 victory by the New Jersey Devils in Landover.

1992 Patrick Division semifinals: The Capitals were the first casualty at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins as they rolled to a second straight Stanley Cup, but not before the Penguins had to come back from down 3-1 in the series. Pittsburgh grabbed a 3-1 over Washington in Game 7.

1995 Eastern Conference quarterfinals: The Penguins got the Capitals again in the lockout-shortened 1995 season, and again, it was the Caps blowing a big series lead. The Capitals lost Games 5, 6 and 7, including a 3-0 home loss in the series finale, to get eliminated once again.

2008 Eastern Conference quarterfinals: Bruce Boudreau led the Capitals to a stunning turnaround during the 2007-08 season, resulting in a Southeast Division title. However, Joffrey Lupul exacted some sort of revenge for Dale Hunter's 1988 goal for scoring one to knock out Washington.

2009 Eastern Conference quarterfinals: It took two decades, but the Capitals finally won a Game 7 again when Sergei Fedorov's late goal sank the upstart New York Rangers at Verizon Center.

2009 Eastern Conference semifinals: The players were different but the refrain was the same when the Capitals and Penguins met in an epic 2nd round series. Game 7 was a dud, though, as Sidney Crosby and Pittsbugh soundly defeated Washington 6-2.

2010 Eastern Conference quarterfinals: In a series Capitals fans would rather forget, their offense went silent in the final three games against the #8 Montreal Canadiens. Jaroslav Halak shut Washington down in a stunning 2-1 Game 7 loss at home.

2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals: Two words - Joel Ward.