Photo: NHL Via Getty Images
The Washington Capitals had one hell of a Game 5. Deemed as their best game of the series, the Capitals sent a very clear message that they are not done. In addition, major milestones were made. Forward Devante Smith-Pelly returned to the lineup and the crowd was wild and booming, which pumped everyone up. Washington is so close to advancing to Round 2 to face the New York Islanders, but they must win one more game in order to get there. Game 6 of the first round series between the Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes is Monday night (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington locally and NBCSN nationally) at PNC Arena in Raleigh. Despite losing both road games, the Capitals lead the series 3-2 after that phenomenal 6-0 win in Game 5 on Saturday.
Forward T.J. Oshie is expected to be out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a broken collarbone, which he suffered in Game 4. He had one goal and two points through four games this postseason.
Washington recalled Parker Milner from the ECHL, South Carolina Stingrays, on Sunday to serve as the third goaltender for the Capitals. They re-assigned netminder Ilya Samsonov back to AHL Hershey as the Bears continue their first-round series against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs.
On Sunday, the Hurricanes recalled Clark Bishop from the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers on an emergency basis according to Mike Maniscalco of Fox Sports Carolina. In 20 regular season games, the forward has only scored one goal and had three points with the Hurricanes. The call is likely in reference to forward Andrei Svechnikov potentially being out of the lineup for Game 6. Svechnikov was on concussion protocol after a fight with Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin back in Game 3. The Hurricanes also re-assigned forward Aleksi Saarela back to the Checkers.
Leaders + Goaltenders
Nicklas Backstrom continues to lead the Capitals at eight points. The center has posted five goals through five games, including two in Game 5. Ovechkin is one point shy (seven) of Backstrom; he has scored three goals. The captain had three points in Game 5, which included a goal. Defensemen John Carlson and center Evgeny Kuznetsov have picked up five assists, respectively.
Hurricanes’ left wing Warren Foegele and defensemen Jaccob Slavin both have recorded five points each. Foegele leads Carolina with three goals while Slavin five assists in five games are the most on the team.
Capitals’ goaltender Braden Holtby increased his save percentage from .905 to .923 with a shutout in Game 5. With goals against average of 2.40, Holtby has made 144 saves through the five games of the first round.
Petr Mrazek had a tough loss on Saturday. The Hurricanes goaltender had a decrease of save percentage from .919 to .890. He has allowed 14 goals in five games, made 113 saves, and has goals against average of 2.81. Mrazek did have a shutout from the 5-0 Carolina victory in Game 3.
The Capitals jumped up to third in the league on the power play and penalty kill this postseason. They are 31.6% effective on the advantage and 85% when a man down. Ovechkin has posted three power-play goals for Washington in these playoffs. The captain along with Backstrom and forward Tom Wilson each scored a power-play goal in Game 5.
In the bottom three for special teams, the Hurricanes have a 15% power play efficiency and 68.4% penalty kill. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton and center Jordan Staal have the only power play goals for Carolina; the former getting two of those goals in Game 3.
The Capitals have a 47.7% face-off win percentage, which places them in the bottom four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Hurricanes round out the top four face-off win percentages at 52.3%.
By Della Young