The Carolina Hurricanes are peaking at just the right time. With their playoff lives on the line, they’ve put together victories in four of their last five games including an overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. Now with a five-point cushion over the Columbus Blue Jackets and a three point lead over Montreal for the first Wild Card spot in the East, they’ll face stiff competition against the Metropolitan-leading Washington Capitals this Tuesday.

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Carolina has had a considerable success of late despite not having a clear-cut first-string goaltender. Generally, that’s a recipe for disaster for a team, but with a commitment to giving both Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek regular starts down the stretch, head coach Rod Brind’Amour has his team buying in to the system.

There’s no question who the man is in Washington, however. Braden Holtby has started 54 games this season and has led the Capitals to 28 victories. While not a career year by Holtby’s standards (2.90 goals against average, .909 save percentage), he’s got the experience needed to lead his team during the playoff stretch. That experience and the strong play of his teammates have given the Caps a one-point lead over the Islanders for the division lead. Washington will be keen to build on that, so don’t miss the 7:00 PM ET start.

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