RALEIGH — After a humbling loss Saturday night in Washington, D.C., the Carolina Hurricanes faced elimination Monday night at PNC Arena.
In a game that featured the road team capturing its first lead of the series, the first lead change six games, two waved-off goals and the type of playoff pressure that hasn’t been seen in Raleigh in a decade, the Hurricanes weren’t ready for their season to end.
Three of the Hurricanes’ four Stanley Cup winners scored, with Jordan Staal doing so early in the third period and captain Justin Williams adding an insurance goal with just over eight minutes remaining to propel Carolina to a 5-2 win over the Capitals in front of 18,913 to force a Game 7 on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. back in Washington.
“We answered the bell,” Williams said. “I said from the start of the series if they’re going to knock us out, we’re not going to do it easy. We’re not going to let it be easy on them. Let’s go play another game.”
The Hurricanes trailed 2-1 after one period, victimized by two mistakes that ended up in their own net, but Teuvo Teravainen — a Cup winner with Chicago back in 2015 — scored to tie the game just 1:56 into the second period to tie the game, the first of what became four unanswered goals by Carolina.
It started with an aggressive forecheck, with Sebastian Aho pressuring Capitals defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler and forcing a turnover. Aho then retrieved the puck and found Teravainen alone in the slot, whose shot beat Holtby to even the score.
That set up a do-or-die third period for the Hurricanes.
It also set the stage for Staal — a 2009 champion with Pittsburgh — to put Carolina ahead early in the third.
Defenseman Justin Faulk’s point shot bounced around in front of Braden Holtby (31 saves) and then ricocheted off Brock McGinn and to Staal. Staal backhanded it in while falling to the ice, giving the Hurricanes the first in-game lead change of the series.
“You know what you’re getting with Jordan, and there’s that offensive flair to him, too,” Brind’Amour said. “He can score and he can make plays. But that’s kind of his area, in front of the net. Nice to see him get rewarded because the guy does everything right for us. I don’t know that he gets enough credit for how good a player he is.”
The Capitals seemed to tie the game later in the third, but an Alex Ovechkin goal was waved off and then confirmed as a no-goal by Toronto after he skated into Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek (23 saves) while the puck was under his pads.
“It looked like the puck was loose,” Washington coach Todd Reirden said. “So we talked with our video staff, and they felt like it was worth a challenge in that situation. That’s not how the league or the referees saw it, so that’s a decision they made.”
Williams — the three-time Cup winner, nicknamed Mr. Game 7, who had his own goal waved off midway through the second period after he high-sticked the puck — then got his first goal of the series against his old team.
A Brett Pesce point shot of net was redirected through the Holtby’s five-hole, giving Carolina a two-goal cushion.
“Nothing needed to be said,” Williams said of the locker room during the second intermission. “Someone was going to be the guy, and that guy wanted to be in this room.”
Dougie Hamilton added an empty-net goal, ensuring one team’s season will end Wednesday night. Ovechkin got a head start on heading back to D.C., being handed a misconduct with 68 seconds remaining after being called for slashing.
At first, it looked like the Capitals wouldn’t even need a Game 7.
Washington became the first road team to lead a game in the series with a goal 5:06 into the opening period.
With the puck behind the net, Aho joined Trevor van Riemsdyk in pursuing Capitals center Lars Eller. Aho’s decision left Brett Connolly alone on the other side of the net and Eller got him the puck, allowing Connolly to cut in front alone and roof a shot past Mrazek to make it 1-0.
Just five minutes later, the Hurricanes knotted it up.
On its first power play of the night, Carolina — which struggled immensely with special teams in Game 5 — created several chances with both units. But it wasn’t until the man advantage expired that the Hurricanes capitalized, with Warren Foegele getting a rebound and literally bouncing it past Holtby to tie the game at 10:35 of the first.
It was Foegele’s fourth goal of the series — the rookie scored 10 all regular season — and the first of three from a line that featured him and McGinn on Staal’s wings.
Washington regained the lead with 4:48 left in the first. Hamilton attempted to disrupt the Capitals on the rush by stepping up at the blue line but instead left Jaccob Slavin alone to defend a 2-on-1, and Ovechkin waited out Slavin on a sliding block attempt and fired in his fourth goal of the series to make it 2-1.
The Capitals wouldn’t score again, and the Hurricanes — who got hobbled “glue guy” Jordan Martinook back in Game 6 with Andrei Svechnikov and, perhaps, Micheal Ferland inching toward returning — gear up for a final game in the nation’s capital with a chance to knock off the defending Stanley Cup champions.
“Sometimes it’s just one team that’s win or go home,” Williams said. “Now it’s both of them. We’re just happy to play another game.”
Notes: Shot attempts favored the Hurricanes 63-38. … Every Carolina skater registered a shot on goal, led by four from Teravainen. … Washington’s Tom Wilson had a game-high nine hits but did not register a shot on goal and was credited with just one shot attempt. … The Hurricanes won 38 of 66 faceoffs. … Brind’Amour would not commit to Svechnikov — injured in Game 3 in a fight with Ovechkin and in the league’s concussion protocol — playing in Game 7, saying, “We’re not going to do anything stupid there.”