Capitals bidding to boost their play-off hopes in Hull

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Edinburgh CAPITALS face one of their closest rivals for an end-of-season play-off spot when they visit Hull Stingrays for tonight’s Elite League ice hockey clash.

The Edinburgh club hope to bounce back from two weekend defeats against Cardiff Devils and Coventry Blaze, but Capitals’ American forward Sean Menton doesn’t expect to see a repeat of the goal rush the two sides shared last time they met earlier this month.

On that occasion, Edinburgh won 7-6 at Murrayfield after penalty shots, but Menton expects a better defensive performance this time round.

He said: “We’ve been working to tighten up the defence, but still obviously produce as much offensively as we can. If we play sound at the back we can still score goals, we have the players to do that.”

Capitals’ small squad, who travelled down for tonight’s match yesterday, will again have to cope without the services of injured defensive duo Jozef Sladok and Tomas Valecko, but Menton believes that dealing with such adversity is bringing the team closer together.

He said: “We’re all pulling together as a team because of this, it’s always tough to go into a situation short benched, but it brings us closer together, and it’s only going to benefit us in the long term.”

The young Californian is blossoming during his time in Edinburgh, and some Scottish connections are going to make sure he enjoys this year’s festivities.

He revealed: “I have some family in the Fife area, so I’m going to spend a couple of days with them which will be great.”

Edinburgh currently sit seventh in the Elite League, and enjoy a five-point advantage over eighth-placed Hull, thanks largely to the three victories the Murrayfield men have enjoyed over the Humberside outfit this season.

Stingrays player-coach Sylvain Cloutier was keen to emphasise the importance of this game in the play-off race. He said: “The guys know how important it is for us – it is massive. We haven’t beaten them yet this season and we know we will fall further behind them if we lose.

“Our target is to win all three of our remaining games with Edinburgh because then we will have taken seven points off them and will have won the series. We need to win against teams like Edinburgh, Dundee and Fife, that is our goal.”