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Capitals hope their fans respond like the Islanders' faithful

Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson of

Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson of the Washington Capitals celebrate a first-period goal against Jaroslav Halak of the New York Islanders scored by teammate John Carlson (not pictured) during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday, April 25, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Capitals failed to shut Nassau Coliseum's doors for good Saturday.

But Monday night in Game 7 at Verizon Center in Washington, they'll get a second chance to ensure that the Islanders have played their final game at the Coliseum.

The good news for Islanders fans? The last time the Capitals had a chance to close out a series in Game 7 in their own building, they lost.

And the time before that, they lost.

And the time before that, they lost.

Sensing a trend? The Capitals have seen five of their last seven seasons end in Game 7 losses, including four on their home ice. If that continues, the Coliseum doors will open again, and the Rangers will walk through them to face the Islanders in the second round.

"We have a different team now," Braden Holtby said. "Those ones in the past, they weren't us."

They are different in a sense that they have a new coach in Barry Trotz and some new personnel such as defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. Their style of play, featuring more size and physicality, also has changed.

Washington focuses more on protecting the puck along the boards and creating traffic in front of the net.

The Capitals' John Carlson, who tied the score at 1-1 with a wrister with 4.3 seconds left in the first period, was asked what they have to do differently this time around.

"Win," he said. "We've got to do a better job slowing them down, out of their zone through the neutral zone and, like I said before, bury our chances because we had a ton of them, I feel like."

Home ice has been unkind to the Capitals, who lost at home to the Rangers, 5-0, in Game 7 of the first round in 2013.

"I think our fans are going to give us very good confidence," Alex Ovechkin said. "They're going to be out there like six guys on the ice. For us, it's a huge test."

It might not have been the Islanders' last game at the Coliseum, but it was the finale for Trotz and the Capitals.

"We're not going to be back here, win or lose," Trotz said. "The fans were absolutely fantastic. It's a fun place, it's a great building. If you're an opposing coach or the home team, it was a great atmosphere. This is what this building was about over the years.

"The three games here have been fantastic. And we're going to need our fans to do what the Islanders fans did. Bring it, help us along and help us through Game 7."

New York Sports