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."