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game recap

Capitals score six against Hurricanes in Game 5, take series lead

Backstrom has two goals, two assists, Holtby makes 30 saves for shutout

by Harvey Valentine / Correspondent

Backstrom's PPG opens scoring

CAR@WSH, Gm5: Backstrom cleans up own rebound for PPG

R1, Gm5: Nicklas Backstrom follows up his own shot and puts the puck past Petr Mrazek for a power-play goal in the 1st

  • 01:05 •

WASHINGTON -- Nicklas Backstrom had four points, and Braden Holtby made 30 saves for the Washington Capitals in a 6-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Capital One Arena on Saturday.

Washington leads the best-of-7 series 3-2. Game 6 is at Carolina on Monday.

Backstrom had two goals and two assists, and Alex Ovechkin had a goal and two assists for Washington. Holtby's shutout was his seventh in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, passing Olie Kolzig for most in Capitals history. 


[WATCH: Hurricanes vs. Capitals Game 5 highlights | Complete series coverage]


"Obviously, I thought that was a pretty great response (after losing Games 3 and 4)," Backstrom said. "We weren't satisfied with the games in Carolina. Tonight, we played some Caps hockey, I thought. Everyone bought in to everything, we worked together, and it paid off."

Video: CAR@WSH, Gm5: Backstrom roofs one by Mrazek

Petr Mrazek made 22 saves for Carolina.

The Capitals went 3-for-4 on the power play while the Hurricanes went 0-for-5.

"We were bad from start to finish really," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "It's tough to pick out a guy I thought had a good game. This time of year, you need everyone on board and for some reason, we were all just a step behind. The score's indicative of the game."

Backstrom gave Washington a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 7:33 of the first period. Mrazek made the save on his initial shot, but he got his own rebound and scored five-hole at the left post.

The team that has scored first has won each game in the series.

"We just want to set the tone right away, put the puck deep, hit their [defensemen] and leave the mark," Ovechkin said.

Video: CAR@WSH, Gm5: Ovechkin blasts one-timer for PPG

Carolina had three consecutive power plays in the second period but only got four shots on goal.

"Obviously, power play wasn't good enough tonight and that's kind of what hurt us in the second," Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. "We had a lot of chances to even up the game and get the momentum going our way, but we didn't do that tonight."

Shortly after the third penalty kill, Backstrom scored his fifth of the playoffs to make it 2-0 at 14:21, taking a cross-ice pass from Ovechkin on a 2-on-1 and scoring high stick side. It was the Capitals' first 5-on-5 goal since Brooks Orpik's overtime goal in Game 2.

Brett Connolly extended the lead to 3-0 at 16:11 after receiving a pass in slot from Ovechkin, who beat Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a puck behind the net. 

"[Ovechkin's] obviously a tremendous player and I just try to get open," Connolly said. "I think his passing is very underrated. Obviously, he's the best goal-scorer arguably of all time, for sure in modern era. I think his passing gets overlooked."

Tom Wilson scored a power-play goal off a rebound in the crease to make it 4-0 at 1:04 of the third period, and Nic Dowd increased the lead to 5-0 on a penalty shot at 8:57. 

Ovechkin made it 6-0 at 10:14 with a one-timer off a face-off win by Backstrom on the power play.

"Park it. It stunk," Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said. "There's ups and downs, a lot of momentum swings in playoff series, and we've got to swing it back in our direction in Game 6."

Video: CAR@WSH, Gm5: Holtby sets franchise record in 6-0 win


They said it

"Give [the Capitals] credit. They executed what they wanted to do. Full marks to them. On every aspect of the game we were outplayed." -- Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour

"We had been disappointed with our lack of physical play, even when we had success here in Game 1 and 2. We just felt that we really hadn't imposed our will and played the type of physical brand of hockey that we're capable of. We knew we had another level to get to." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden


Need to know

Forward Aleksi Saarela became the first player in Hurricanes history to make his NHL debut in a playoff game. … When a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 is 206-55 (.789). … Backstrom has nine goals in his past ten games and joined Dino Ciccarelli and Evgeny Kuznetsov as the only players in Washington history to have multiple four-point games in the playoffs. … Dowd's goal was the first made penalty shot in Capitals playoff history. … After being outhit 86-67 in Games 3 and 4 at Carolina, the Capitals outhit the Hurricanes 48-32 in Game 5.


What's next

Game 6 of Eastern Conference First Round at PNC Arena on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, FS-CR, NBCSWA)

Video: Capitals grab series lead with 6-0 win in Game 5

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