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First Round

Capitals must make corrections for Game 4 against Hurricanes

Coach says Washington 'far from a finished product' despite holding 2-1 series lead

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Washington Capitals have issues to correct before they play Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, SN360, FS-CR, NBCSWA).

"We're far from a finished product at this point," coach Todd Reirden said Tuesday. "We're looking to get better every day, and we took a step back in some areas in Game 3. I expect us to make improvements and put forth a better result and outcome on Thursday."

The Capitals did not practice or hold meetings one day after a 5-0 loss in Game 3 cut their lead in the best-of-7 series to 2-1. Shortcomings were addressed after the game and Washington will return to the ice and have video sessions Wednesday.


[RELATED: Complete Capitals vs. Hurricanes series coverage]


"There were some unforced errors by us as well, in terms of execution that allowed them to generate some offense," Reirden said. "There's a few other areas we are going to address tomorrow that we can continue to improve on."

Washington has adjusted on defense since losing Michal Kempny to a torn left hamstring against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 20. John Carlson, a right shot, was moved to the left side and paired with right-shot defenseman Nick Jensen

But Reirden believes that is not the root of the problem.

"It happens all over the ice, forwards and defense, some reads that weren't great," he said. "Whatever side of the ice you're on, if you pass the puck directly to the other team, that's probably not a good idea."

Center Nicklas Backstrom, who has scored three goals in three games, agreed the issues are team-wide.

"Everything can be better," Backstrom said after Game 3. "We didn't execute anything. We were slow. We didn't play with speed. [Carolina] obviously played the way they wanted to play."

Video: CAR@WSH, Gm2: Backstrom taps in Ovechkin's great feed

Much of the second and third periods were spent in the Capitals' zone and fending off Carolina's aggressive forecheck, which caused turnovers and created difficult defensive-zone exits. They were outshot 18-1 in the second period and did not get their first shot of the third until 7:28 remained. The Hurricanes had a 45-18 advantage for the game.

"The pressure that they put on you, they force you to make mistakes," Reirden said. "When we're able to execute versus that pressure, then we will get some chances going the opposite direction and establish our own forecheck, where we can force them to go back under a little more pressure than they have thus far."

Reirden expects the veteran players to lead the way in Game 4.

"You rely on your leadership group, and ours is, I feel, the strongest in the League," he said. "I expect them to be part of our response on Thursday. We've been good since the All-Star break in our games after a loss and I wouldn't expect anything less."

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