ARLINGTON, Va. -- During the regular season, the Washington Capitals were the only NHL team that did not lose consecutive games in regulation.
The Capitals lost Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round 2-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday. A win would have ended the Flyers' season and advanced the Capitals to the second round.
"It's amazing in this League, if you give teams hope, what they can do with it," Capitals forward Tom Wilson said. "They won one game; they're obviously feeling a little bit better than being down 3-0. If they get the second game, it can be a slippery slope."
Washington leads the best-of-7 series 3-1. Game 5 is at Verizon Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, CSN-PH, CSN-DC).
"We're going to lose a game every now and then," defenseman Karl Alzner said. "It's just not going to happen where you win them all in a row. It's hard to beat a team four times in a row. Just the fact that it was the last game, a chance to close them out, it stings a little bit. We're ready to go back at it."
Game 5 gives the Capitals a chance to reset and move on from failing to close out the series in Philadelphia. In the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Capitals led 3-1 in their second-round series with the New York Rangers, but lost in seven games.
"We don't really look at the past too much," Wilson said. "Obviously it's a long season, a lot of success, but it's playoffs now and our focus is to send those guys home. We have to do a better job if we have them up against a wall to kind of finish it and move on."
Washington didn't begin to challenge Philadelphia until the third period of Game 4, when T.J. Oshie scored. Many Capitals players admitted there was a little bit of complacency connected to their 3-0 series lead.
"I thought we eased into that game," coach Barry Trotz said. "You've heard me talk about sometimes going around games instead of through games, and I think some guys wanted to go around that game, thinking that maybe it was going to be an easy game and they would go away. They're not going away. You've got to make them go away. You have to go through the game."
Considering the Flyers played their best two periods all series when the Capitals played their worst two periods, it may have been nothing more than bad timing.
But a team on the brink of elimination poses a unique threat.
"They're urgent," Trotz said. "They don't have any room for error. That allows you to play at a level that's extreme. They're not going to quit. They're going to play hard."