Playoff hockey returns to Raleigh, N.C., for the first time in 10 years on Monday night.
The Carolina Hurricanes hope an emotional boost from the PNC Arena crowd will help them break through after losing the first two games of their first-round series against the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.
"I hope we get a lift," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Our fans are excited. It has been a long time coming."
Washington won 4-2 on home ice in the series opener and followed with a 4-3 overtime victory Saturday. Carolina never led in either game.
While the Hurricanes have played hard and given the Capitals a few scares, Washington has answered every challenge.
"I wouldn't expect anything else in Game 3 either," Capitals goalie Braden Holtby said of the response he anticipates from Carolina.
Holtby said having played in Raleigh late in the regular season (a 3-2 Washington win on March 28) gives the Capitals a somewhat fresh idea of the situation they'll be entering.
"We're going to go in there with a game plan," Holtby said.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik scored the overtime winner in Game 2. He was an unlikely contributor in that role, but he figured that's part of the process.
"When it get to this time of the year, if you want to make long runs you have to have everybody kind of chipping in," Orpik said. "I think everybody tries to get to a different level this time of the year."
The Hurricanes were rattled by a game misconduct assessed to left winger Micheal Ferland in the second game for a check on center Nic Dowd.
"I don't think it was a dirty hit," Ferland said. "I take pride in my game of being a clean hitter. ... I thought I'd let up and I hit him with my back, my butt."
The Hurricanes have shown a knack for rebounding when the scenarios look bleak.
"You have to give them credit for what they're doing," Orpik said. "They're playing really hard and have a good game plan."
The Hurricanes expect a reset for Game 3.
"It's playoff hockey, every game is different," captain Justin Williams said. "We'll pick ourselves up and get back at it in Game 3."
A better start would be ideal for Carolina. The Capitals hold a 5-1 combined edge in first-period scoring.
"It's really hard when you spot teams leads like we have in the last two games," Williams said.
The Hurricanes have had good production from some of their bottom lines. Other than Sebastian Aho's goal Saturday, there has been a void from some of the primary producers.
"Our top guys are not on the score sheet," Brind'Amour said. "I feel pretty good that if we get those guys going, which they have all year, it will give us a better chance to win. We're hanging around and I don't think we're playing our best hockey, so I guess that's somewhat positive."
Williams said there's time for a turnaround from his line.
"We have to be a lot better and we will be in Game 3," he said.
--Field Level Media