Brind’Amour after game 6 win over Caps: ‘It was a pleasure really to coach that one’
The Carolina Hurricanes still have hockey to play.
There will be a Game 7 against the Washington Capitals, the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The Canes, facing elimination in the Eastern Conference playoff series, refused to lose Monday, to bow out on home ice. Instead, they all took bows at center ice after whipping the Caps 5-2 in Game 6 at PNC Arena.
It will be back to Washington, where the Caps have won all three games at Capital One Arena, for Wednesday’s seventh game.
“It’s fun. This is why you play,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “These are the games you remember. This is a chance to make a moment. That’s why it’s so special.”
Jordan Staal’s goal at 3:51 of the third gave the Canes their first lead of the game and proved to be the game-winner. Staal planted himself in front of goalie Braden Holtby, wedging in between defensemen Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen and used his long reach to backhand the puck past Holtby for a 3-2 lead.
Justin Williams made it a 4-2 lead with less than eight minutes left in regulation with a redirection, the first goal of the playoffs for the Canes captain. Not long after, the sellout crowd began chanting “Game Seven! Game Seven!.”
Warren Foegele, who has been in the middle of so much in his first playoff series, scored in the first period for the Canes -- his fourth of the series for a 1-1 tie. Teuvo Teravainen’s late second-period goal tied the score 2-2, setting up the Canes’ big finish in the third.
It almost seemed fitting that forward Jordan Martinook set up the Canes’ final goal -- Dougie Hamilton’s empty-net score. Martinook left Game 4 with a lower-body injury and missed Game 5, the 6-0 romp by the Caps in Washington, but couldn’t be kept out of the lineup Monday. He skated Monday morning and was ready at game time.
“It was everybody tonight,” Staal said. “That’s what we need. That’s the way we can win this series. But they’re obviously a talented team and they’re going to come back with a better effort. We have to do the same and find a way to win one on the road. Grind away and not get rattled and keep at it and do all the things we did at home and we’ll find a way.
“Anything can happen in Game 7. It’s what you dream of playing as a kid. I know everyone in this group is excited.”
The Caps believed they had tied the score 3-3 with 9:26 left in the third when Alex Ovechkin, who had scored in the first period, crashed the net and into goalie Petr Mrazek after Evgeny Kuznetsov got off a shot. The puck wound up in the net and the Caps wildly celebrated, but the goal was waved off and the call -- goaltender interference by Ovechkin, who was ruled to have pushed Mrazek’s pad -- was upheld on review after a challenge by Caps coach Todd Reirden.
“We make a push, we scored a goal, and I think it was good,” Ovechkin said. “But again, it’s the referees’ decision, and they make the decisions they make. It’s over. Move forward.”
Ovechkin moved on earlier than the rest of his teammates. Upset after being called for slashing with 1:08 left in regulation, he was given a 10-minute misconduct after making his opinion known to the refs and angrily headed off to the locker room.
The Caps scored twice in the opening period, Brett Connolly giving Washington a 1-0 lead in a series in which the team scoring first had won the first five games. When Ovechkin ripped a shortside shot past Mrazek, the Caps led 2-1 with 4:48 left in the second and regained some of the swagger from their 6-0 dismantling of the Canes in Game 5.
But the Canes got the kind of play from Sebastian Aho that has been missing fro Aho most of the series. Separating defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler from the puck behind the Caps net, he found Teravainen charging in for the quick shot and score from the slot -- Teravainen’s second of the series.
The Canes then killed off two Washington power plays in the second after tying the score. Williams and Nino Niederreiter were called for high-sticking, but the Canes’ penalty killers took away passing lanes and cleared the puck successfully.
Canes fans were roaring soon after the first penalty kill. Williams had a breakaway and chipped the puck over a gambling Holtby and into the net. But the goal was quickly waved off as Williams tipped down the puck with a high stick before the score.
The Caps came an inch from scoring in the final second of the period, Tom Wilson redirecting the puck in front of Mrazek and having it clip the crossbar. That came moments after Mrazek, who had 23 saves, made a strong stop on John Carlson shot.
Foegele’s goal came five seconds after the Caps had killed off a penalty. Hamilton had a shot blocked, but Foegele collected the puck and got off a spinning shot that glanced off the post and beat Holtby to the blocker side.
Injured forwards Andrei Svechnikov and Micheal Ferland skated Monday morning but did not play, and Martinook was a game-time decision.
“Playing at home, it’s a huge deal, the crowd here,” Brind’Amour said. “You can feel it on the bench, feel the energy they give our players. Now we’ve got to figure out how to go do it up there..”
In Washington. In Game 7.