Unlike the Capitals, the Anaheim Ducks were all about making up for their recent postseason woes on Wednesday, overcoming a shaky 1-0 first-period hole to clamp down on the offensively loaded Edmonton Oilers and claim both a 2-1 victory and trip to the Western Conference finals.
John Gibson stopped 23 of 24 shots for Anaheim as the only goal he gave up came off a defensive blunder by 21-year-old rearguard Shea Theodore.
"It's a great feeling - you get to show them what we remember as kids from the Oilers dynasty", he said.
Like a good leader, part father, part big brother, McDavid also gave Leon Draisaitl a tap on the arm to get the heck into the dressing room when Leon Draisaitl wore the look of an anguished man as he leaned on the boards watching the Ducks celebrating Corey Perry's double-overtime victor.
The Ducks were fighting a four-year pile of bad vibes as they came to the rink on Ryan Getzlaf's 32nd birthday.
"Our opponent played significantly better (than in Game 6)", said McLellan.
For Edmonton, it's the first Game 7 in 11 years. The Capitals are 4-10 all-time in Game 7s, including 0-3 against the Penguins (1992, 1995, and 2009).
Following their epic collapse, the Oilers did rally in Sunday's Game 6 by mounting a lead of 5-0 through the first period, eventually reaching 6-0 and 7-1 cushions, capped by a Leon Draisatil hat trick, with Anaheim radio announcer Steve Carroll still talking about another comeback.
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said center Nate Thompson will play in Game 7 against Edmonton on Wednesday night after his status was in some question when he didn't practice Tuesday.
And their hopes - and the fears of Ducks fans - were redeemed with 3:31 gone in the first period. The Ducks got in trouble in Round 2 when Edmonton used its speed advantage to exploit the slower Anaheim forwards.
What went wrong for the Ducks, apart from and ice-cold Gibson?
But Anaheim forward Andrew Cogliano said it isn't the 7-1 score that mattered in Game 6, just the result.
The Ducks picked up their play after that, with no immediate reward.
Speaking with media post-game, goaltender Cam Talbot talked about the steps forward several players had taken in the playoffs. But it was Fleury, who made stop after stop against Washington's almost 30 shots on goal, not to mention his fellow blueliners, who did the dirty work to send the Caps home for the second consecutive season. What if the Ducks loss if for the better of the team?
"We've been kicked to the curb a few times", Cogliano said.
(1) There is a contingent of fans that believe that the National Hockey League wants their playoff series to be lengthy so as to provide more games to cash in on with game-related revenue.
Draisaitl had four and five-point efforts in that series, tallying 13 of his 16 postseason points against the Ducks alone. Corey Perry had a gleaming chance off a rebound and fired the puck over the net, and Nick Ritchie had another chance to exploit Talbot but wasn't ready to convert the pass.
"When they keep it to things that they can manage and things they can control there's a lot less pressure put on themselves".
Edmonton had a good possession late, and Getzlaf had to block a shot by McDavid from the high slot.
After the Oilers fell 2-1, and were eliminated from the playoffs, fans were sad but proud. Anaheim was without two key injured veterans. It took Nashville's first game seven in franchise history to do so, but the Preds still came out of that series on top.