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game recap

Hurricanes rally against Capitals in Game 6, avoid elimination

Carolina scores three goals in third period to force deciding game

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

Staal pots rebound to break tie

WSH@CAR, Gm6: Staal fends off defense to net rebound

R1, Gm6: Jordan Staal eyes a rebound and slides it by Braden Holtby while tangling with a pair of defenders to give the Hurricanes the lead

  • 01:02 •

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Jordan Staal scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period, and the Carolina Hurricanes avoided elimination with a 5-2 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round at PNC Arena on Monday.

The best-of-7 series is tied 3-3, with the home team winning each game. Game 7 is at Washington on Wednesday.

Staal and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist, and Petr Mrazek made 23 saves for the Hurricanes.


[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Hurricanes Game 6 highlights | Complete series coverage]


"We answered the bell," Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said. "I said from the start of the series, if they're going to knock us out, we're not going to let it be easy on them."

Video: WSH@CAR, Gm6: Williams' deft tip-in goal pads lead

Braden Holtby made 31 saves, and Brett Connolly and Alex Ovechkin scored for the Capitals.

"I thought we needed a little bit more from all our players tonight," Washington coach Todd Reirden said. "It's self-inflicted. We didn't do a great job of managing the puck to give ourselves a chance to get in on the forecheck as much as we did in Game 5."

Staal gave Carolina a 3-2 lead at 3:51 of the third period. Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen tried to clear the rebound of Justin Faulk's shot, but Hurricanes forward Brock McGinn blocked the clearing attempt and Staal jammed in the loose puck at the top of the crease. 

"I was hoping to get one. So was everyone else in the room," Staal said. "I was fortunate enough that it was me. Everyone was a piece of that game. We're going to have to have that in Game 7."

Ovechkin appeared to tie it 3-3 at 10:34, but the play was ruled no goal for goaltender interference. Reirden challenged the ruling, but the call was upheld after a video review.

"For us, we thought the puck was loose," Reirden said. "It was still a puck in play."

Williams scored his first of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to make it 4-2 at 11:58 when he redirected Brett Pesce's point shot five-hole on Holtby.

"I don't expect anything less from [Williams]," Pesce said. "He's such a talent. You know he's going to come up clutch. It's good to know he's on our side and he's our leader." 

Hamilton scored into an empty net with 3:06 remaining to extend the lead to 5-2.

"I thought when they scored, when they were up 4-2, that's when the urgency started for us, but that was too late," Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom said. "Best out of one game. We just got to regroup and look ahead here and make sure we can come out ready."

Connolly gave Washington a 1-0 lead at 5:06 of the first period. He took a backhand pass from Lars Eller behind the net before quickly moving out in front and shooting high to the far post.

Video: WSH@CAR, Gm6: Connolly goes top shelf for early lead

Warren Foegele scored his fourth goal of the series to tie it 1-1 at 10:35 on a turnaround in the high slot after Hamilton's shot was blocked by Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen.

Ovechkin made it 2-1 at 15:12 when he took a pass from Dmitry Orlov in the neutral zone and toe-dragged a sliding Jaccob Slavin before scoring short side.

Teuvo Teravainen tied it 2-2 at 1:56 of the second period, taking a pass alone at the right hash marks after Sebastian Aho stripped the puck from Jonas Siegenthaler behind the Capitals net.

Video: WSH@CAR, Gm6: Aho finds Teravainen for tying goal

"Tonight we were solid," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We had our gaffes. We messed up and they made us pay, but (we) just played hard. It was a pleasure to coach that one. Everyone was engaged."


They said it

"It was a good battle. Good for them, they win Game 6, and you know, Game 7 is going to be very interesting. We know how to play that. Pressure on both teams, but it's a good chance for us to beat them at home." -- Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin

Video: WSH@CAR, Gm6: Ovechkin goes short side on Mrazek

"You've got to have that attitude, that swagger and belief that you're going to find away. Tonight's no different. When you're down a goal, you've got to get two. You've got to stick with it, you've got to find a way." -- Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal


Need to know

Williams has 27 points (15 goals, 12 assists) in 23 playoff games when facing elimination. His 1.17 points per game in those games is second among active NHL players to Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, who has 24 points (six goals, 18 assists) in 19 games (1.26 points per game). … Mrazek is 3-0 at PNC Arena in the series with a 1.00 goals-against average, .959 save percentage and one shutout. … Foegele leads NHL rookies in goals (four) and points (six) in the playoffs. … Backstrom was minus-3 and Ovechkin was minus-2.


What's next

Game 7 of Eastern Conference First Round at Capital One Arena on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS, NBCSWA, FS-CR)

Video: Hurricanes stay alive, force Game 7 with 5-2 win

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