The Washington Capitals began their 2019 postseason defense of the Stanley Cup with a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night at Capital One Arena. The Capitals jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after one period, but gave up two third period goals to make it close in the final frame, before Lars Eller would seal the deal with a late empty net goal. The win is the Capitals fifth consecutive postseason victory, and gives Washington a 1-0 lead in the 2019 first-round playoff series. Game 2 of the series is set for Saturday afternoon at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 3:00 PM.
Braden Holtby (32-19-0-5, 2.82 GAA, .911 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the defending Champs. Petr Mrazek (23-14-0-3, 2.39 GAA, .914 sv%) got the start in goal for the visiting Hurricanes. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:
Scratches: Dmitrij Jaskin, Jonas Siegenthaler, Travis Boyd and Ilya Samsonov. (Samsonov was recalled earlier in the day at the third goaltender on the roster.)
The Capitals would open the scoring with Nicklas Backstroms 32nd career post season goal at 9:58 of the first period. John Carlson (1) and Brooks Orpik (1) were credited with the helpers.
Moments later the Capitals would stretch the lead to 2-0 with Backstrom’s second goal of the game, a power play tally at 13:10 of the first period. Evgeny Kuznetsov (1) and John Carlson (2) had the helpers.
The Capitals would make it 3-0 with a power play goal from Alex Ovechkin at 18:05 of the opening frame. Tom Wilson (1) and John Carlson (3) were credited with the assists.
The first period would end with the Capitals leading 3-0. The Hurricanes led in shot attempts 19-7 for the first frame.
The Capitals and Hurricanes skated to a scoreless middle frame. The Hurricanes led in shot attempts 16-11 for the middle frame, and 35-18 after two periods of play. Carolina led in shots on goal 11-4 for the second period, and 21-13 after 40 minutes. The Capitals were 2 for 4 and the Hurricanes 0 for 1 on the power play through two periods.
The Hurricanes would get on the scoreboard with a goal from Andrei Svechnikov at 5:07 0f the final frame.
Svechnikov would close the gap to one with another goal at 7:26 of the final frame, making it 3-2.
Lars Eller would pot an empty net goal with 36.2 seconds remaining for the 4-2 win.
- The Capitals are now 28-20 all-time in Game 1s, and 19-11 at home.
- Nicklas Backstrom scored two goals.
- Alex Ovechkin’s 3-0 Capitals tally tonight puts him past Phil Esposito into a tie with Bobby Hull for 27th in career playoff goals (62). Among natural left wingers, only Esa Tikkanen (72) & Brian Propp (64) have more.
- John Carlson collected three first-period assists to match the NHL’s playoff record for most in a period.
- Carolina led in shot attempts 58-23 for the game.
- The Hurricanes led in shots on goal 28-19 for the game.
- Carolina won the faceoff battle 58-42%.
- The Capitals were 2 for 4 and the Hurricanes 0 for 3 on the power play.
- Carolina out-hit the Capitals 37-35 for the game.
- This was Brooks Orpik’s 150th career post season game.
- This was John Carlson’s 100th post season game.
- The NHL box score is here.
SCENES FROM THE DISTRICT