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Game 6 Preview: Capitals vs. Hurricanes

Canes aim to stave off elimination

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs game previews are presented by Visit Raleigh.


The Carolina Hurricanes are playing for their lives.

The Hurricanes will look to stave off elimination when they host the Washington Capitals in Game 6.

The Canes trail the best-of-seven First Round series 3-2 after getting shut out, 6-0, in Washington on Saturday.

Lessons from Game 5

There's not much to take from Game 5 except that the Hurricanes know they don't want to see a repeat performance.

"We were working hard, but we weren't working hard at the digging in part of it," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said on Sunday. "It was a combination of everything. You almost scrap that game. If we don't get to our game, it's going to look like that."

The Hurricanes surrendered the first goal to the Capitals, a power-play goal from Nicklas Backstrom, and then failed to tie the game with three subsequent power-play chances in the second period. Backstrom struck again shortly after, Brett Connolly stretched the Caps' lead to three nearly two minutes later and that was pretty much that.

"The power play was a huge turning point in the game. It sucked, and we weren't good enough," Justin Williams said after the game. "We need to do something positive for the team in those situations."

Do or Die

The Hurricanes are now faced with the reality of having to win two games in a row, including one on the road, should they look to advance to take on the New York Islanders in the Second Round of the playoffs.

But, the Canes can't afford to look ahead. They have to take it one game at a time, just as their mindset has been for each game in the 2019 calendar year.

GAME 6 PROJECTED LINEUP

"We know what's our situation, but we've been kind of in this situation this year, too," Sebastian Aho said. "We have a lot of faith in our group. We believe."

It's win or stay home for the Hurricanes, who have to rebound from a misfire in Game 5 should they want to force a winner-take-all seventh game.

"I think everyone plays their best with their backs against the wall, and now we're literally there," Brind'Amour said. "I'm pretty confident we'll come out with the best game we have. Is that going to be good enough? We'll see. I certainly would expect to be much better than the other night."

Patching Holes

The Hurricanes' forward corps is walking wounded, and the team is currently without three top-nine, physical forwards.

Micheal Ferland reaggravated an upper-body injury in Game 3 and hasn't skated since.

Andrei Svechnikov was placed into the concussion protocol after fighting Alex Ovechkin in Game 3. Svechnikov has been skating with the Canes - he practiced with the team on Sunday, wearing a yellow, non-contact sweater and a full-face cage - but hasn't been cleared to return to game action just yet.

"My head still hurts," Svechnikov said Sunday. "It depends how I'm going to feel tomorrow."

"We'll see," Brind'Amour said. "I would say highly doubtful."

Jordan Martinook suffered a lower-body injury in Game 4 and was limited to watching practice from the locker room tunnel on Sunday.

"Marty is trying," Brind'Amour said. "His heart's sure in it. I just don't know if his body is going to be able to let him go."

With this trio of forwards expected to remain sidelined for Game 6, the Hurricanes recalled Clark Bishop from Charlotte on Sunday evening. Bishop, who logged 20 games with the Canes this season, will likely join Saku Maenalanen and recent recall Patrick Brown in the lineup.

"You're asking a lot for call-ups and guys to fill those roles," Brind'Amour said. "That's the big challenge we have."


ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Move On

Game 5 was one to forget. Park that performance and get back to playing Hurricanes hockey.

2. All In

It's a must-win game for the Canes tonight. Don't look ahead to a potential Game 7. Focus on one shift and one period at a time.

3. Best Foot Forward

No matter the outcome tonight, the Canes have to put their best foot forward. Leave everything on the ice and see where the chips fall.


AT THE RINK

Back home! Here's a quick rundown of what you can expect for Game 6. PNC Arena parking lots are set to open at 1 p.m. A South Plaza Party helps kick off the festivities at 4:30 p.m. Doors will open at 5:45 p.m., and the show begins around 6:30 with warm-ups.

Giveaway alert! "Earn It" rally towels are waiting for you on your seat.

Did you know? The 50/50 Raffle is back! The Hurricanes Foundation is awarding non-cash prizes each week from now through early June. The grand prize - half of the cash jackpot - will then be drawn on June 13, and all ticket purchasers (including non-cash prize winners) are still eligible to win. Learn more about how you can win big and also raise funds for children's health and educational needs throughout North Carolina.


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