Capitals seek to close out series at Carolina
The Washington Capitals have done some good work in this first-round series with the Carolina Hurricanes.
There's still more work to do.
Washington goes into Monday night's Game 6 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., needing one more victory to secure the series.
"We have to go hard the next game," Capitals goalie Braden Holtby said. "Now we know what we have to do and let's go bring it in Game 6."
Washington took a 3-2 series lead with Saturday night's 6-0 home victory.
"We show when we play that way, we can be pretty tough to beat," Holtby said. "It's on us to play like that."
After the Hurricanes won two home games last week, they were hoping the momentum would stay with them.
Now they have to regroup in a hurry with their season hanging in the balance.
"A lot of momentum swings in playoff series, and we've got to swing it back in our direction in Game 6," Carolina captain Justin Williams said.
The crowd in Raleigh has been a big factor in the series, and the Capitals are aware of that.
"They get behind their players and they play well there," center Nic Dowd said.
The visiting team has yet to hold a lead in any of the five games in the series.
The Capitals likely will have right winger Devante Smith-Pelly on the ice for a road game for the first time in the series. He was called up from the American Hockey League with right winger T.J. Oshie lost to an injury. It was announced Sunday that Oshie will miss the rest of the playoffs after having surgery for a broken right clavicle.
Smith-Pelly, who logged slightly more than 10 minutes Saturday night without a point, was a key contributor in the 2018 postseason.
"I think when you go through the situation like we went through as far as losing one of our top players and leaders, you use that as opportunity," Washington coach Todd Reirden said of Oshie's absence and Smith-Pelly's return. "Someone has to take advantage of it. ... (Smith-Pelly is) a very well-liked player in our locker room. It was a nice distraction from us losing a top, top player, a top leader on our team."
When things have gone well for the Capitals, they've looked crisp.
"Guys are giving each other energy," Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said.
The Hurricanes didn't have answers in any category. Still, they seem as if they know the formula necessary to excel in this series.
"Hopefully Monday night we can come out with a game that is our identity," Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. "And that's working hard and getting pucks deep."
The Hurricanes could receive a boost from an anticipated return of right winger Andrei Svechnikov, who was knocked out by an Alex Ovechkin punch in Game 3. Svechnikov was in the concussion protocol but has returned to on-ice activities. He scored two goals in Game 1.
Anticipating that move Sunday, the Hurricanes reassigned center Aleksi Saarela to Charlotte of the AHL after he made his NHL debut in Game 5.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have stuck with goalie Petr Mrazek throughout the series. Coach Rod Brind'Amour said he considered pulling him in favor of Curtis McElhinney during Saturday night's lopsided loss but decided against that switch.
--Field Level Media
Updated April 22, 2019