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Hurricanes want to ‘shut the door’ on the Capitals

Mar 14, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

Capitals 44 Getty Images

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.

  1. rg3isvictory - Mar 14, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    The Caps have their hands full and continue to be hindered with injuries but at some point this band of 3rd liners needs to show some heart when they get down by a goal or two and win a few games using heart or at least lose the games while posting up nasty hits throughout the games so that these teams leave banged up. OVI, Brower and Olecky are the only ones that want to smash. The beauty of Semin is
    If you smash him early, he checks out of the game.

  2. capsfan19 - Mar 14, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    All they have to do is score 1 or 2 goals and we’ll hang up our skates, so the canes should be fine!
    In a sick way i dont want this team to make the playoffs. This way it will really highlight the problems we’ve been having for the past several years.
    I mean im not goin to cheer for my team to lose! But if this franchise wants to win a cup theyre going to need to change some pieces.

  3. trbowman - Mar 14, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    Like this Canes team. Pretty underrated hockey club if you ask me.

    Craps are done. No character on that team. I feel for Adam Oates.

    • rg3isvictory - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      Underrated??? They’ve been the least effective of the division leaders. B/c the division is so piss poor the Canes look better than they are compared to the other playoff bound teams. Caps waxed your “underrated” Canes easily in the 1st match up and got it handed to them in the 2nd game. Caps fans are sorry that the Canes have been laying eggs in the division the last 5 plus years. The only Crap on the ice has been the Cane,s season after season minus this lockout shorten, sprint to the Cup. Caps, Caps, Caps!!!

      • lonespeed - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:53 AM

        You are clueless. Typical Redskin / Capitals fan and perfect example of why those two fan bases are horrible.

        The Hurricanes are 12-4-1 against non-southeast division teams. They haven’t marched through a week division.

        The Hurricanes were riddled with injuries the first time they played the Capitals, and the next week got back 5 players back on a single night.

        Furthermore, they are the 4th leading scoring team in the nation and with the emergence of Jiri Tlusty, who would be an all-star in a normal season, have one of the most lethal top-lines in hockey (Tlusty, Staal, Semin).

        Go back to football. At least as a Redskin fan you’ll fit right in as an uneducated fan.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM

        i saw carolina make some big moves to improve, they are a much different team this year. semin is #3 in the league in plus/minus and on pace for 90 pts if it were a full season. add tlusty, staal 11 and staal 12, skinner – these guys are way better on paper than their record shows right now and the canes are one good defenseman away from being a serious playoff threat. i wouldnt say they are underrated by any means either but the caps look like a minor league team next to the canes right now

      • blackfoot11 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        I agree that the ‘Canes are a legit team with talent. Its funny that fans like @lonespeed only post when a rival has some adversity and his team (I guess) is in 1st place in the division. Where were his comments when the Caps were making a push and winning 5 of 7 in attempt to get back in it….nowhere b/c he doesnt post when a rival is doing well and when his team loses.

  4. lonespeed - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    I still don’t get the lofty expectations or the sense of entitlement around the Capitals. The team was not that good on paper coming into the season and their worse now with injuries. Just because they play in a big market does not warrent the expectations around the team.

    The Capital fan base also likes to complain about the years Alexander Semin played in Washington and criticize his game because the team didn’t maximize their opportunity the years when their roster really was worthy of the hype. Whether or not Semin played at his top game all the time or not, he was a premium talent for Washington, a playmaker and a scoring threat at anytime.

    The fact is, the loss of Semin was huge for the Capitals and they didn’t replace him. The Capitals have zero threat past their top-line now, and even that line has suffered because all the pressure is on the Alex Ovechkin and Nicolas Backstrom to perform. There is no backup plan, so when the top line or the power-play doesn’t score, the Capitals don’t win. Like him or not, Semin gave them that two-line threat last year and made the overall team better even though the team wasn’t all that special as a whole. Now without him, their terrible unless the top-line is having a good night or the power play is clicking.

    The formula for beating the Capitals is very simple. Shut-down the top-line and don’t take bad penalties. Make the other three lines beat you.

    • blackfoot11 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      What sense of entitlement are you talking about? Anyone knows you get the attention by winning and the Caps earned it by winning four straight SE division titles (2007-2010), a Presidents Trophy in the ’09-’10 seson, and being in the playoffs consistently. The downside of that regular season success is that they failed to carry that success to the playoffs and earn a Cup. As a Caps fan, I know that the current team has flaws, needs to make roster changes, and the inconsistent play will have them out of the playoffs this year, barring an extraordinary 2nd half run. Furthermore, you sound foolish and ignorant generalizing the Caps fan base as entitled or delusional, as you are the uneducated one. I wish your ‘Canes the best, but I also expect you to post if your ‘Canes win or lose.

    • rg3isvictory - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      I’m amazed by your ability to trumpet the best of Semin while sugar coating his major short comings. On Paper, Semin looked great on the 2nd line. The truth is, Semins complete lack of consistant proformance on the ice limited the Caps to one line last season and season prior. Teams still put their best line against OVI at all times. I would agree that the Caps have a habit of getting nothing in return for their talent. No trading Semin for something was disappointing. But, the fan base, ultimately, was happy to see him move on. If he showed up in a Caps uniform and played like he did in the Caps/Canes 1sr game this season, Caps fans would have wanted him around and I imagine GM would have as well. To chalk up the Canes prior woes to injuries and ignore them now the team in on s winning streak isn’t credible. All teams have injuries and still have to play. BTW, the idea that you’re somehow a better or more knowledgable hockey fan because I like football is laughable and borderline childish. Don’t try so hard, it makes it obvious you’re from a small market team.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 14, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        pretty simply put – caps miss semin’s 25 goals per season average right now. teams used to have to respect the 2nd line at the very least when they played the caps because of his raw talent and ability. they literally have no threat on the ice now, teams get a favorable matchup no matter who is on the ice for the caps unless theyre in a pk situation. the top line for the caps is one of, if not the worst in hockey and it trickles down and gets worse from there. you can roll 4 lines and not even have to worry about matching a defensive line against the ovechkin line right now, your best d pairing is good enough to keep them bottled up.

      • lonespeed - Mar 14, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        Small market team that won the cup back in 2006. Your big market team won the cup in….oh wait, I’m sorry, you’ve never won the cup. That sucks.

      • blackfoot11 - Mar 14, 2013 at 3:44 PM

        @lonespeed, ok, the’Canes did win a Cup in ’06. But its your blatant absence of hockey/player knowledge that is in question.

      • natswizskincap - Mar 14, 2013 at 6:54 PM


        I will agree that the Caps miss Semin but that in it self isn’t the key to their struggles. Nobody is claiming that the Caps are better than the Canes. Quite the opposite it seems from Caps fans. But, as it was stated earlier, you’re similar to so many other small market team fans. You over react to opposing opinions and call people names like child while not having great points that are clouded by homerism. Canes are good this season, and yes, they did win the Cup in 2006. Yes, the Caps haven’t won the Cup. But I’d take the Caps track record of being an contender that falls short, or well short instead of irrelevancy-> Cup-> irrelevancy. Clearly its weighed on you quite a bit. I hope things go the Canes way if the Caps continue to let the post season slip away. Then you can come back on here and tell how Semin was the difference for your team. Even if he was a sad sack for the Caps!!! That said, I hope the Caps beat the Canes up tonight. That way I can see what you have to say tomorrow.

  5. 950003cups - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Caps kicked our butts last game. Of those 9 goals in 24 games that Ovi has, 3 came in the form of a hat trick. So he also has 6 goals in 23 games.

    I still think it has a lot to do with the coach. He wasn’t very effective in NJ. He was our PP coach, and we were horrible at it.

    • therealjr - Mar 14, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      I could explain in detail why that statement about Oates is idiotic, but who has the time anymore. Go learn something instead of making dumb comments, there are a good number of hockey blogs with really interesting angles on analyzing the game.

  6. beachrover - Mar 14, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Cam had a ton of rust at the start of the season, that was one of the Canes big problems. They won some game but still struggled. Also, they had major additions to the team without the benefit of a normal training camp so it took some time for the lines to gel. I think Muller has done an amazing job with the team and all without Ruutu. Now Cam is lost but Peters & Ellis have stepped up and Tlusty has been on fire. I’m excited for this team for the rest of the season but even more excited at the prospect of them resigning Semin plus having a full training camp for next year with the whole team together.

  7. mp1113 - Mar 14, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Ovechkin with Backstrom and riberio with semin would have been 2 solid lines this year. As much as I have hated on semin while he was a cap we have no scoring this year and could’ve used him

    • natswizskincap - Mar 14, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      You hated on him for good reason. The hardest he has played at the Verizon Center was in game 1 against the Caps this season. He is a good player that was a turd while with the Caps. If he played for the Caps this season, do you think he would a standout? IF so, what would have changed? Ultimately, it was his attitude, not the lack of talent around him, that left him with few suitors after last season. I wish the Caps would have traded him rather than let him walk, but they either couldn’t get another team to bite on the sour grape or had written him off. Think fat Albert for the skins. A bad apple.

  8. therealjr - Mar 14, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    As a Caps fan, please, please shut it. Slam it. This team needs a reality check and getting bounced back-to-back by the Canes should finally set that in motion.

  9. rg3isvictory - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    @Lonespeed- ???

    • blackfoot11 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      Yes Sir…posting time @lonespeed.

  10. rg3isvictory - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    This isn’t 2006!

  11. rg3isvictory - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Did anybody else notice all the Caps fans on the glass??? Guess things have changed since 2006. Caps dominated for two periods!!!

    • blackfoot11 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      Yeah, it was nice to hear a noticable roar and after the goals.

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