Caps hang on to beat Carolina

Ruben Hill
April 15, 2019

The Washington Capitals began their Stanley Cup championship title defense on Thursday with a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

The positive sidebar was that the young Russian became only the second 19-year-old in Hurricanes/Whalers history to score a goal in the postseason. "We played hard; certainly don't fault that". The execution on some of the things wasn't great. We definitely got a little choked up watching it. Well after the "Back-to-back!" chants faded into nervous silence, Mrazek rebounded from allowing a soft opening goal to Backstrom by stopping Nic Dowd and Carl Hagelin on breakaways and turned aside Brett Connolly and Lars Eller on rapid-fire chances early in the third before Svechnikov got the Hurricanes on the board. "But it's nice that the guys - once we go over it as a staff - that there is some confidence in the way we played". With that being said, we spent too much time in the defensive zone. While Holtby shined, Petr Mrazek was weak. "[Mrazek] kept us in the game; he gave us a chance to come back and then have a chance at the end to maybe tie it up". Playing in his first playoff game, Svechnikov powered his way down low with Capitals defenseman John Carlson draped over him, cut to the net and roofed a shot over Holtby to make it 3-1 with about 15 minutes left in the game. "But we didn't execute well enough to break it and get the puck out of the zone".

Jamie Benn scored the lone goal for the Stars, who won 3-2 in Game 1 and were looking to return home with a two-game edge. We wanted to win the game.

Understood that a strong defensive game, including exceptional goaltending, will work to hold off Washington's powerful and talented offense at 5-on-5, as long as possible.

With 3:31 to play, Carolina's man advantage got another shot after a high-sticking minor to Caps forward TJ Oshie. Holtby had a busy night as Carolina outshot Washington 29-18, probably a byproduct of the relaxed hockey the Capitals played after going up 3-0 in the game's first 20 minutes. The Carolina Hurricanes are averaging two goals per game and are scoring on zero percent of their power play opportunities.

It's already time for Game 2, so here's everything you need to know before puck drop.

Part of that is having success on the power play - it was underwhelming Thursday, but not as bad as the usually good penalty kill - but those guys also need to score at even strength.

The Carolina Hurricanes first playoff game in almost a decade didn't look like it would live up to expectations after the Capitals scored three first-period goals. "I liked our first period; it's just unfortunate we got down three".

And I think everyone is itching to see Ferland v. Wilson, right? I thought we started the first 10 minutes way better than I thought it was going to be. If both teams perform the same way in Game 2 and the Canes get some better goaltending, they should win.

The Canes settled in during the second period and outhshot Washington 11-4, setting the stage for the third-period rally.

Watch parties at local establishments and homes had attendees glued to their screens as the Carolina Hurricanes faced off on the road against the Capitals at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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