- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 22, 2017

Going on a hike with Capitals coach Barry Trotz might not be the best idea.

“You get an opportunity to push someone off a cliff, you need to push them off if you can,” Trotz said.

Trotz, though, wasn’t referring to hiking, but was explaining his mindset as the Capitals head into Toronto, looking to close out the series. Washington took a 3-2 series lead Friday with a 2-1 overtime win.

Game 6 is Sunday in Toronto at 7 p.m.

“The fourth game is always the toughest game (to win),” Trotz said. “They are going to come with their absolute best, and we’re going to have to come with our absolute best game.”

On a conference call with reporters, Trotz said that star Alex Ovechkin was re-evaluated Saturday after taking a vicious hit from Toronto center Nazem Kadri in the first period and will be available for Game 6.

“Expect him ready to go,” Trotz said.

Trotz, meanwhile, gave the same answer regarding the status of defenseman Karl Alzner. Alzner is improving after missing the last four games of the series with an upper-body injury and remains day-to-day. Alzner participated in some of the drills during Friday’s practice, but declined to speak to reporters after.

The Capitals will have to figure out how they want to re-adjust the lineups if Alzner is available. Defenseman Nate Schmidt has been paired with John Carlson and has made an impact in the series. Schmidt was inactive in Game 1 when Alzner played.

Trotz didn’t rule out playing with seven defensemen available considering forward Brett Connolly’s minutes have decreased throughout the series. Connolly, who plays on the fourth line, saw only 6:39 in ice time in Game 5.

Tom Wilson benched

Forward Tom Wilson was a hero for the Capitals in Game 1 and Game 4, but Wilson had a tough outing Friday. Wilson committed four minor penalties and was benched after his last one with 12:24 left in the third period.

“I thought Tom had lots of energy, but you cannot take four penalties in a playoff game,” Trotz said after Game 5.

Trotz said the coaching staff will discuss the penalties further with Wilson.

“We’ll tighten Tom up and get him in the right frame of mind and he’ll be good to go [Sunday],” Trotz said.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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