Mar 14, 2013, 6:00 AM EST
The Carolina Hurricanes are trying to show that sometimes intangible quality known as killer instinct.
On Thursday, the Hurricanes host the struggling Washington Capitals in a Southeast Division showdown that could very well eliminate Alex Ovechkin‘s crew from the divisional race.
The Capitals sit fourth in the division, one point up on the Florida Panthers. Washington also trails the Hurricanes by 10 points and have played the same amount of games, 25, as Carolina.
“Obviously, when you’re at the top of the division, there’s going to be important games where teams are looking at you to gain some ground,” Hurricanes center and captain Eric Staal told the Washington Post.
“Especially that we won the game here [Tuesday], it’s big. We want to make sure we follow that momentum up and really shut the door.”
The Capitals lost six of their first seven games to begin the truncated season, quickly putting them behind in the sprint to the playoffs.
The Capitals have shown glimpses that perhaps they are turning it around, like that three-game winning streak to begin the month of March. Any good vibes from that winning streak seemed to have been wiped out by three consecutive losses.
The Capitals’ struggles have emulated that off their 27-year-old star Alex Ovechkin.
He has nine goals in 25 games and no goals or points in his last three games. As a result, he’s been highly criticized, which is something first-year head coach Adam Oates has taken issue with.
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