Nicklas Backstrom Stars in Game 1 for Caps

Jose Verdugo
Abril 16, 2019

Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin led the way for Washington with three goals in the Game 1 win. Svechnikov's two goals, Lucas Wallmark's two assists on them and a sneaky good game from Greg McKegg (in just 7:50 of TOI) are all positives. "We stuck with it".

When the Carolina Hurricanes take the ice for Game 1 of their first-round series against the Capitals on Thursday, their blue line will have less playoff experience than top Washington defenseman John Carlson. The Hurricanes took it to the Capitals, outshooting them 29-18 and got two goals in 2:19 from Svechnikov early in the third period to cut the deficit to one.

The upstart "Bunch of Jerks" pulled within one before allowing an empty-net goal and falling 4-2 to the defending Stanley Cup champions in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

The Capitals are 24-11-6 at home.

Another three-goal comeback nearly happened in this one.

The Canes entered the third period down 3-0, but some timely saves from goalie Petr Mrazek and Svechnikov's heroics brought things within one. Mrazek finished with 14 saves.

Backstrom scored twice and Ovechkin scored on the power play to fire up a raucous sellout crowd in the first playoff game in Washington since celebrating the franchise's first title in June. Despite the loss, the young Hurricanes go into Game 2 Saturday knowing they can go toe-to-toe with the playoff-seasoned Capitals. That said, the Caps are capable of playing much better than they did in Thursday's opener, and they'll need to so on Saturday if they hope to lead the series when the scene shifts in a southerly direction next week. "Columbus had no quit in them and good on them".

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"I thought we came out pretty good", Brind'Amour said.

Carolina, which had 10 players making their playoff debuts after ending the NHL's longest post-season drought, didn't go away. The last time the Hurricanes made it, coach Rod Brind'Amour was their captain and they were three years removed from their only championship.

"They're aggressive all over the ice and didn't give us a lot of time out there, but I think as a team we can play a little bit better", Backstrom said. "We've got to get in on the forecheck, and we've got to establish some offensive zone time to make it a little more hard for them than we did [Thursday] night".

It's not just luck.

Washington needed to kill off two penalties in the final nine minutes and play solid defense.

Backstrom - who beat Mrazek on a harmless-looking shot to open the scoring and tapped the puck in on a backdoor play on the power play - was arguably at his most important when he got his body in front of a couple of shots in the third to keep Washington ahead. But this new video flashes back to moments from last summer's glorious win, a reminder to everyone from the fans, to the team themselves, just what winning another Stanley Cup could feel like. "It's great to see". "The guys didn't hesitate to get right back into doing those things".

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