- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PHILADELPHIA — If Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau wants to gain insight of what Game 7 of a Stanley Cup playoff series is like, he won’t have to look around his team’s dressing room long.

Center Sergei Fedorov and left wing Matt Cooke not only have winning Game 7 experience, they have helped their teams rally from 3-1 deficits.

The Caps evened their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Philadelphia Flyers last night with a come-from-behind 4-2 victory. Washington can become the 21st team in NHL history to rally from a 3-1 hole if it can win Game 7 tonight at Verizon Center.

“It’s not going to be any different than [last night] or Saturday,” Cooke said. “It’s intense. The crowd is going to be crazy, the guys will have a lot of emotion and they’ll have to find a way to relax, take a deep breath, enjoy the moment and put their best foot forward.”

Cooke was on the Vancouver Canucks team in 2004 that rallied from 3-1 to defeat the St. Louis Blues.

“It’s kind of been the same this go around,” he said. “We won Game 5 at home, went to St. Louis and won Game 6 and then came home. We had the crowd behind us. We scored first, which was definitely a key.

“All of a sudden, the desperation for both teams is heightened even more because it is one game. It’s been do or die for us the last two games but not necessarily for them. We have to expect them to come out with intensity and a higher level of desperation.”

Back in 1992, Fedorov’s Detroit Red Wings trailed the Minnesota North Stars 3-1. Fedorov forced a seventh game when he scored in overtime at Minnesota.

“I was wondering if that was true because I said it a couple days ago,” he said. “I won’t have to say much to the guys. We’ll forget about this game at midnight. We usually have a day off, but playing back to back will be a quick transition for some of us. We need to get organized, regroup and play a hard one [tonight].”

History lesson

Only 20 of 223 times has a team down 3-1 in a series rallied to win. The Caps blew a 3-1 lead to the New York Islanders in 1987, rallied from 3-1 down to beat Philadelphia in 1988 and blew 3-1 advantages to Pittsburgh in 1992 and 1995. The Flyers last squandered a 3-1 lead in 2000 when they lost to New Jersey.

Since the NHL introduced the best-of-seven format in 1939, a total of 121 playoff series have gone to a Game 7. The home team has won 77 times, including Montreal last night. The Capitals are 1-2 in home Game 7s.

Poti shaken up

Caps defenseman Tom Poti needed help off the ice from Brooks Laich in the third period after Laich’s stick hit Poti in the back of the head, ripping off his helmet.

“A little bit [stunned] but I’m OK,” Poti said.

Poti returned to the game and finished with 21:01 of ice time, second on the team.

Defenseman Mike Green missed a couple of third-period shifts with a skate problem.

No Schultz, Modry

Defenseman Jeff Schultz practiced with the Caps yesterday and participated in the morning skate but still was not ready to return to the lineup because of back spasms that knocked him out of Game 3. Steve Eminger dressed for the third straight game in his place, while Quintin Laing, Tomas Fleischmann and Brent Johnson were the Caps’ healthy scratches.

Flyers defenseman Jaroslav Modry missed the game because of the death of his father. Lasse Kukkonen dressed in place of Modry. Tough guy Riley Cote replaced Mike Knuble, who is out with a strained hamstring.

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