Mr. Game 7 strikes again for Hurricanes

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Hurricanes down Capitals in Game 7 OT

Check out photos from Game 7 of Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup playoff series against the Washington Capitals Wednesday night, April 24, 2019,

Check out photos from Game 7 of Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup playoff series against the Washington Capitals Wednesday night, April 24, 2019,

There’s no way around it: Mr. Game 7 did it again.

Justin Williams not only set up Brock McGinn’s game-winning goal Wednesday night that sent the Carolina Hurricanes into the second round with a 4-3 double overtime victory over the Washington Capitals, he won the faceoff that led to it.

The assist gave him 15 points in his nine game 7s, extending the NHL record he already held while running his personal record to 8-1 in those games.

APTOPIXHurricanesCapitalsHockey (1).JPG Carolina Hurricanes left wing Brock McGinn (23) celebrates his game-winning goal with right wing Justin Williams (14) and defenseman Brett Pesce (22), in double overtime of Game 7 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Washington. The Hurricanes won 4-3 in double overtime. Nick Wass AP

“It doesn’t add to anything,” Williams said. “Listen, I’ve been a part of some great teams. This is not my story, this is the Hurricanes’ story. I’m proud of every single one of our guys, but we’re not done.”

It was the third-longest Game 7 in NHL history and the Hurricanes’ fifth straight in a Game 7 – and in four of those, the Hurricanes came from behind. Only three teams have ever won six straight: The 2012-2015 New York Rangers, the 1983-1994 Boston Bruins and the 1949-1964 Detroit Red Wings.

CLOSER Andrei Svechnikov remains on the verge of a return from the concussion he suffered in Game 3 of the Capitals series, but still has yet to be cleared by doctors. But the Hurricanes thought there was a chance he could have played in Game 7, and remain hopeful he’ll be able to play in Friday’s Game 1 against the New York Islanders.

“I hope so,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Thursday, after the Hurricanes arrived in New York. “There’s one more step in the protocol. He’s got to get cleared.”

Brind’Amour said there’s a chance Micheal Ferland (upper body) could return in the Islanders series as well.

BROADCAST NEWS With FS Carolinas done after the first round, John Forslund will move to NBC’s national broadcasts of the Hurricanes-Islanders series, working with Eddie Olczyk and former Hurricanes goalie Brian Boucher.

Mike Maniscalco and Tripp Tracy will handle the Hurricanes’ radio broadcast, as they did when Forslund worked for NBC in Games 4 and 7 of the Capitals series.

RAL_CANES-SP-042419-RTW03.JPG Washington Capitals’ Jonas Siegenthaler (34) checks Carolina Hurricanes’ Saku Maenalanen (8) into the boards in the first period during Game 7 of their first round Stanley Cup series on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Robert Willett

RATINGS POINTS The final two games of the Hurricanes-Capitals series set national viewership records for NBC and its networks.

Game 7 had a 1.32 overnight rating, the best on record for a first-round game on NBCSN, up 18 percent over last year’s Toronto-Boston Game 7 and the best of the entire first round despite being on cable instead of NBC and with the team broadcasts available in both markets.

Hurricanes-Capitals Game 6 had been the second-most watched game of the entire first round at that point.

ON THE BACK END Jaccob Slavin finished the first round with nine assists, breaking John Cullen’s franchise record of seven in a single playoff round. He was tied for third in NHL scoring through the first round. No other Carolina player was in the top 10; Warren Foegele and Jordan Staal were among several tied for 16th with six points.

Petr Mrazek finished sixth among the eight surviving goalies in goals-against average (2.54) and eighth in save percentage (.899), numbers that belie the clutch saves that kept the Hurricanes in the series.

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