One night after watching the Presidents' Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning blow a three-goal lead and lose 4-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Capitals went up 3-0 at 18:05 of the first period and had the sellout crowd decked out in red fired up for the first playoff game in Washington since the franchise won its first title in June. It was enough for them to take a 2-0 lead (Nicklas Backstrom at 3:37 and TJ Oshie at 9:26).
LAST 10 GAMES: Hurricanes: 6-4-0, averaging three goals, five assists, 3.2 penalties and 6.6 penalty minutes while giving up 2.3 goals per game with a.919 save percentage. Coach Rod Brind'Amour said de Haan skated but had no timetable for his return. We can look at those and say, 'We're right there, ' which of course we were. The execution on some of the things wasn't great. "It's playoff time. It always seems to be an unsung guy who has to step up and we're going to need that".
The biggest storyline from Game 1 - for either team - was Andrei Svechnikov's third period.
The Capitals got a pair of golden chances to take a 4-0 lead early in the third period, but Mrazek came up with a pair of breakaway saves on Washington forwards Nic Dowd and Carl Hagelin. "One of the biggest positives is that we've got a group in here that can play".
Directly after another pair of point-blank stops by Mrazek, the Canes got on the board. The Carolina Hurricanes are averaging two goals per game and are scoring on zero percent of their power play opportunities. We definitely got a little choked up watching it. "We'll try to focus on the next game".
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russian Federation, takes a shot in goal as Carolina Hurricanes' Trevor van Riemsdyk (57) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, March 28, 2019.
"Our special teams in general have to be better", said forward Jordan Staal. Two of the three came on the power play. We've seen them; they're a well-coached team that has discipline in terms of how they do things systematically, so we knew that they were going to be down aggressively on the forecheck with their defense pinching down often.
The Caps defended well at even strength, but they will aim for more crispness with their zone exits, more time in the offensive zone, and better and quicker decisions with the puck in Saturday's Game 2. Despite amassing most of the games' shots, the Capitals scored three goals in the first period. Defensively, the Washington Capitals are allowing two goals per game and are killing 100 percent of their opponents power plays. I think that we have a chance, and we feel good about the fact that we've got a good chance to win, and we believe in ourselves and in the guys.