Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes
When and Where: Monday, April 22, PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C., 7 p.m. EDT.
Having put together their best 60-minute effort of the series, the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals look to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals and eliminate the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 6 on Monday night.
Capitals out to finish off ‘Canes
Washington took out the frustrations of two poor games in Carolina and losing T.J. Oshie for the rest of the postseason by pounding the Hurricanes 6-0 on Saturday and grabbing a 3-2 series lead.
Nicklas Backstrom had two goals and two assists while Alex Ovechkin added a goal and two helpers, with his hustle to negate an icing setting up the goal by Brett Connolly that made it 3-0 late in the second period and essentially ended the game.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 21, 2019
“Obviously they got on the point sheet, but their play away from the puck, on the forecheck, supporting each other, they’re real tough to play against when they play like that,” goaltender Braden Holtby told The Washington Post after making 30 saves for his seventh career playoff shutout. “I thought they’ve been doing a great job all playoffs, too. You can tell that they want to win, and the rest of the team will follow.”
The team confirmed Sunday that Oshie would miss the remainder of the postseason with the announcement he underwent surgery for a broken collarbone. Oshie, who had 25 goals in the regular season and two points in the postseason, suffered the injury in the final minutes of Game 4 after being pushed into the boards by Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele.
He is the second key cog to be ruled out for the postseason, with defenseman Michal Kempny sidelined with a torn hamstring suffered late in the regular season. Tom Wilson, bumped up to the first line to fill Oshie’s spot, had a goal and an assist in Game 5.
Backstrom and Ovechkin have accounted for eight of Washington’s 15 goals in this series and have combined for seven assists. Ovechkin has scored all three of his goals on the power play as the Capitals went 3 for 4 on the man advantage Saturday and are 6 for 19 in the series.
Washington went 4-0 in series closeout games last spring en route to the Stanley Cup title, winning all of them on the road. If the Capitals do win, they will face the New York Islanders in the conference semifinals.
‘Canes counting on home ice to help force Game 7
If there is a saving grace for the Hurricanes, it is coming back to a raucous PNC Arena, where they won Games 3 and 4. Carolina is 18-6-0 in its last 24 home games overall, but it will need to find answers from Saturday’s loss quickly to send this series back to the nation’s capital.
"The good news is we still have another day and another game to play."https://t.co/3GYk56yjUw
— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) April 21, 2019
“To a man, I think everyone in the room needed a little more fight and a little more edge to our game,” Jordan Staal told the club’s official website. “We didn’t have that tonight, and it showed.”
In addition to their struggles killing penalties in Game 5, the Hurricanes failed to click on their power play. They went 0 for 5 — failing on three second-period opportunities — and are 3 for 20 in the series.
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour was non-committal on the availability of rookie Andrei Svechnikov for this contest. The 20-goal scorer sat out Game 5 after suffering a concussion in the first period of Game 4 after being knocked out by Ovechkin in a fight.
The Andrei Svechnikov highlights from today: “My head still hurts a little but it’s all right. We’ll see tomorrow. Depends how I’m going to feel. … Very hard (to watch Saturday), just want to come out and play. … If I’m going to go back, I’m going to play my game for sure.”
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) April 21, 2019
Petr Mrazek will try to bounce back from Saturday’s loss after letting up all six goals on 28 shots. He stopped 48 of 49 shots in Carolina’s two home wins and is 8-0-0 with a 0.99 goals-against average and .966 save percentage in his last eight home appearances, yielding just eight goals on 237 shots.
Before losing to Pittsburgh in the 2009 conference finals, the Hurricanes had won their previous five games when facing elimination. If Carolina does win, Game 7 will be Wednesday in Washington D.C.
The Capitals are:
- 7-3 in their last 10 road games.
- 5-2 in their last seven road games vs. teams with an above-.500 home record.
- 7-2 in their last nine conference quarterfinal games.
The Hurricanes are:
- 1-5 in their last six games vs. above-.500 teams.
- 2-5 in their last seven home games vs. the Capitals.
- 2-5 in their last seven games after scoring two or fewer goals in the previous game.