Penguins and Capitals take it the distance

The Penguins and Capitals will face off in a Game 7 for the fourth time. Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins will meet in a Game 7 for the fourth time and second time in the Sidney Crosby/Alex Ovechkin era.

Flashback to the last time

The first time Crosby and Ovechkin met in a Game 7 was May 13, 2009, a 6-2 Penguins victory at Washington’s Verizon Center. Crosby scored twice and had an assist, while Ovechkin scored as well. Each superstar had three shots in the game.

Oh, how the lineups have changed since then. Among the long departed who played that night: Bill Guerin, Mirolsav Satan and Hal Gill for the Penguins; Tom Poti, Viktor Kozlov and Sergei Fedorov for the Capitals.

Only five Penguins players from that game remain with the team; Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Chris Kunitz and the injured Kris Letang.

The Capitals have three remaining; Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Jay Beagle. Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik played for the Penguins that night.

Penguins-Capitals playoff history

This is the 10th time the Penguins and Capitals have hooked up in the playoffs, with the Penguins winning eight of the previous nine series.

It'll be the fourth one to go seven games and, you guessed it, Pittsburgh has had a significant edge. The Penguins have outscored the Capitals 12-3 in winning the previous three Game 7s.

While much has been made of the Capitals losing five of 12 series when leading 3-1, the Penguins have lost three series after leading 3-1, most recently in 2014 against the Rangers.

Penguins bid to repeat on the line

The Penguins are trying to become the first team to successfully defend their Stanley Cup title since the 1997-98 Red Wings. That Detroit squad swept the Capitals in the Cup finals that season. It's also the last time Washington advanced past the second round of the playoffs.

The NHL has gone the longest of the four major professional sports without seeing a repeat champion.