(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers have faced elimination the last two games, but they won't be alone this time.
After rallying from a 1-3 deficit to even the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Blueshirts will host the Washington Capitals in Wednesday's decisive Game 7 from Madison Square Garden.
New York staved off elimination with two straight victories, taking Friday's home test by a 2-1 score in overtime before holding on for a 4-3 decision in Sunday's Game 6 in D.C.
The Rangers hold an NHL record with nine straight victories when facing elimination at home. They also have won 13 of their last 16 playoff elimination games overall.
Washington, meanwhile, is 3-4 in its last seven elimination games.
"Next game wins," said defenseman Marc Staal. "Game 7 at home and you can talk all you want about momentum, but it's a seven-game series and they're going to come in with the same mentality we are, so we have to be ready. Nothing like a Game 7 at MSG."
This series marks the fourth time in the past five seasons that the Caps and Rangers are getting together in the playoffs and it's the third time in four seasons they will meet in a Game 7. New York won the two previous encounters in 2012 and '13, taking both series in seven games.
The top-seeded Rangers are counting on a repeat of last spring when they overcame a 1-3 deficit in the second round to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins. It marked the first time in Rangers history that they were able to come back to win a best-of-seven series after losing three of the first four games.
Washington, meanwhile, has blown a 3-1 series lead in recent history, losing to Montreal in 2010 during the opening round. The previous spring, the Capitals overcame a 3-1 deficit to eliminate the Rangers from the 2009 conference quarterfinals.
Tonight's tilt will mark the third straight spring in which the Rangers are playing a Game 7 on May 13. They posted a 5-0 win in Washington on May 13, 2013 to win an opening round series before downing the Pens in the Steel City on the same day last season.
New York is 8-5 all-time in Game 7s, including a perfect 6-0 mark at MSG. The Caps are just 4-9 in Game 7s and 1-2 on the road.
The Rangers led the Caps by a 4-1 count early in the third period of Game 6, but needed to hold on for the one-goal victory. It was the 13th straight time New York had a playoff game decided by one goal, extending the club's modern NHL record.
Chris Kreider scored two goals and Henrik Lundqvist made 42 saves to help the Blueshirts stay alive and push the series to a seventh game. Kreider has three goals over the last two games and is tied for the team lead with five markers in this postseason.
New York was 1:41 away from defeat in Game 5 on Friday before Kreider tied it. Ryan McDonagh then scored in overtime for a 2-1 victory.
Lundqvist earned the 50th playoff win of his career on Sunday to help keep New York's conference title defense hopes afloat. The Rangers are trying to make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals after losing in five games to Los Angeles last spring.
On Sunday, New York's star goalie posted his highest save total in the playoffs since stopping 48 shots in a double-overtime loss to the Kings on Jan. 13, when L.A. clinched its second Cup title in three seasons.
"(Henrik) is so focused during the game and he makes that save when you need it the most," defenseman Dan Girardi said. "He was just a wall back there for us. He was there to close the door."
Lundqvist is 9-0 with a .97 goals against average and .968 save percentage in nine career games at MSG when his team is facing elimination. He is 5-1 with a 1.00 GAA and .965 save percentage in six career Game 7s and has won his last five in this situation. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Lundqvist is the only goaltender in NHL history who has won five consecutive Game 7s in which he appeared.
Rick Nash also scored for New York in Game 6, ended an eight-game goal drought, and Dan Boyle added a third-period marker that proved to be the game- winner.
Joel Ward had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who suffered consecutive losses for the first time in these playoffs. Washington is trying to get past the second round for the first time since the 1998 postseason, when it lost to Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals.
"They are probably disappointed we didn't get (the win) in front of our fans, but the pressure is the same on both teams, really," said Washington coach Barry Trotz. "It is one game. Loser goes home. You can't say there is more pressure on us than them. No matter what, someone is going home."
Braden Holtby, who gave up only three goals to the Rangers in the previous three games, allowed four on 28 shots Sunday, including two in the early stages of the third.
Despite Holtby's sub-par outing in Game 6, Washington forward Evgeny Kuznetsov said the Captains will tonight's clash because of the man in their crease.
"Our goalie's better," Kuznetsov said.
Holtby is 2-2 with a 2.23 GAA and .911 save percentage in Game 7s.
The winner of tonight's game will face Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals. The Lightning finished off the Montreal Canadiens in six games on Tuesday.