LANDOVER, Md. — John MacLean scored on a deflection to snap a 2-2 tie with 6:11 remaining Saturday night, lifting the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the Patrick Division finals.
The Devils, in the playoffs for the first time since moving from Colorado to New Jersey in 1982, advanced to the Wales Conference finals, where they will meet the Boston Bruins in a best-of-seven series beginning Monday night at the Boston Garden.
The game-winner came after New Jersey defenseman Craig Wolanin intercepted a clearing pass at the right point, turned and golfed a low shot. MacLean got his stick on the puck and tipped it past Washington goalie Pete Peeters, just inside the left post.
Rookie goaltender Sean Burke stopped 30 shots for New Jersey and made several key stops in the final period.
The loss marked the sixth consecutive year the Capitals have failed to advance past the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It was also the fourth consecutive game and fifth overall in the 7-game series won by the visiting team.
After falling behind, 2-0, in the game's first 12 minutes, Washington pulled even with a pair of goals in the final five minutes of the second period.
After pressuring Burke for most of the period, Washington scored with 4:39 left when defenseman Grant Ledyard beat Burke on a screened slapshot from the left point.
Garry Galley tied the game with six seconds left in the period. His soft shot from the high slot got past a diving Aaron Broten and went in off the right shoulder of the 6-foot 3-inch Burke.