2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs game previews are presented by Visit Raleigh.
WASHINGTON - The Carolina Hurricanes aim to even up their first-round series with the Washington Capitals in a Game 2 Saturday matinee.
Andrei Svechnikov scored two goals in the third period to chisel away at the Capitals' 3-0 lead, which they established in the first period with the help of two power-play goals, but the defending Stanley Cup champions staved off the Canes' late push to take Game 1.
"We came here for a split, so we're going to have to get that done," captain Justin Williams said. "We were resilient, came back and had an opportunity to win the game."
Lessons from Game 1
There were some questions as to how the playoff inexperienced Hurricanes would respond, especially early, to the battle-tested, defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals.
The answer? They handled it in stride by playing their game. The Hurricanes, especially Micheal Ferland, matched the Capitals' early physicality, and they held the home team without a shot on goal for nearly 10 minutes.
"It's actually helped us that we don't have a lot of players who have played on this stage because they don't know it's supposed to be different," Brind'Amour said. "They just went out and played our game. I was pleasantly surprised with that."
GAME 2 PROJECTED LINEUP
The Canes carried 5-on-5 play throughout the contest. At 5-on-5, the Canes out-scored the Caps, 2-1, out-shot them, 26-12, and out-chanced them, 22-12, according to Natural Stat Trick.
"5-on-5, we played a pretty good game," Williams said. "I think they probably look at it and say they didn't play their best, which is what I was hearing, so they're going to come out even better, and we need to come out better, also."
"There's some confidence in the way we played, I think," Brind'Amour said. "We're confident in the fact that we have a good chance to win. We believe in ourselves and the guys. Yeah, the results suck, obviously. We wanted to win the game, but I think there's a lot of confidence in the way we played."
The Story of Special Teams
Ay, there's the rub.
While the Canes might have been pleased with their 5-on-5 play, special teams leaved something to be desired.
"The power play was crap, and the penalty kill was crap, also," Williams said.
The Capitals added to their 1-0 lead in the first period with a pair of power-play goals from Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin.
The Canes then had two power-play opportunities in the latter half of the third period to tie the game and came up empty-handed.
"Your best players are usually on the ice, and they need to make plays," Williams said of the man advantage.
Changes for Game 2?
Based on the Canes' workflow in practice on Friday, there won't be any lineup alterations for Game 2. The Canes utilized the same forward lines and defensive pairs with which they opened Game 1, but those combinations could always change before puck drop.
"I like our group," Brind'Amour said. "it's just hard to pull guys out of the lineup. … Who do you take out? Nobody really deserves to come out."
Jake Bean slotted in for Jaccob Slavin during Friday's practice. Slavin recorded three blocked shots in 25 minutes of ice time and was given a maintenance day.
"A lot of hard minutes," Brind'Amour said.
Calvin de Haan participated in practice on Friday. The defenseman has been sidelined since the end of March with an upper-body injury, but the update there is that there really isn't much update just yet - though practicing with the team is an encouraging sign.
"We're hopeful he'll get in at some point," Brind'Amour said.
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Stay On It
The Hurricanes were satisfied with their overall game in Game 1. Stay on it and don't stray from what has brought success in the past.
2. Convert Chances
When the Hurricanes get quality scoring chances, whether it's on the power play or at even strength, they need a find a way to make them count.
3. Avoid the Box
The Canes have to avoid taking unecessary penalties. Keep this game 5-on-5, and don't let a lethal Capitals' power play take the ice.
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