LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals are in an unenviable position. They must beat the Pittsburgh Penguins three straight times in their Stanley Cup playoff series, starting with Game 5 tonight at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena, or their National Hockey League season will be over.
With a victory tonight, Pittsburgh, leading 3-1 in the best-of-seven Patrick Division championship series and winner of the past three games, can wrap up the division title and a trip to the Wales Conference championship round against the Boston Bruins or Montreal Canadiens.
"It's gut-check time for us," Capitals coach Terry Murray said yesterday after practice. "This is the time of year that you find out about your players. It's a test of their mental toughness and their will to work hard for a win."
If the Capitals win tonight, then the series would move back to the Capital Centre on Saturday.
Murray said he isn't worried about playing tonight's game in Pittsburgh's rink."
"We should have won both our games there last week," he said. The Capitals won the first game, 4-2, and lost the second, 7-6, in overtime.