The Washington Capitals closed-out their four-game, season-opening home stand with a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. Carolina was playing in their second game of a back-to-back set, winning last night (Friday) 5-3 over the Red Wings in Detroit. The Capitals played their first 3 of 4 games against teams that were playing the second game of a back-to-back set. Nicklas Backstrom made his season debut on Saturday night. Braden Holtby got the call in net. The lines against the Carolina Hurricanes:
Michael Latta, Nate Schmidt and Stanislav Galiev were the healthy scratches for this tilt. This was Brooks Laich’s 686th game for the Capitals, passing Kevin Hatcher (685) for 10th place on the Caps franchise games played list.
The Capitals outskated the Hurricanes for most of this contest. The Hurricane’s goalie, Cam Ward had a really good outing, keeping the ‘Canes in the game throughout the entire contest. Nicklas Backstrom had a pretty good return with a goal and two assists. T.J. Oshie earned two points (1g, 1a), marking his second consecutive multi-point game (10/15-10/17: 2g, 2a) and his 76th career multi-point game. John Carlson scored a goal, marking his fifth point in his last four games (10/10-10/17: 2g, 3a). Tonight’s attendance was 18,506, the Capitals’ 273rd consecutive sellout at Verizon Center.
A fairly tame opening to this contest, as both the Caps and Canes played a fairly conservative style for the opening ten minutes. At the midway point of the first period, the Capitals led 11-3 in shots-on-goal (SOG). The Capitals received the game’s first power play at the 14:14 mark for a tripping call on the Hurricanes McGinn. Nicklas Backstrom was on the first powerplay unit, taking Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s spot. (77, 19, 8, 74, 90). T.J. Oshie scored on a soft shot from the point, fed from Nicklas Backstrom, giving the Capitals the 1-0 lead with 4:03 left in the first period.
The Hurricanes went on the power play at 16:51 on a tripping call on Brooks Laich, however the Capitals were able to successfully kill the penalty, and closed out the period with a 1-0 lead at the break. The Capitals had a 17-5 lead in SOG and 25-10 in shot attempts.
The second period started with a good pace for the Capitals. However, it would be the Hurricanes who would go on the periods’ first power play when Jay Beagle was called for tripping at the 4:56 mark. The Capitals would get another penalty call against them during the Canes power play, going two men down for 38 seconds, when John Carlson was called for slashing. The Capitals were able to kill both penalties. The Capitals continued to apply significant pressure the entire period, however Canes goalie Cam Ward continued to dazzle, shutting down the Capitals for the period. The period ended with the Caps holding onto a 1-0 lead. Washington had a 26-12 SOG advantage.
Nicklas Backstrom started the third period with a goal from the half wall at 1:38
The ‘Canes would get on the scoreboard on a 3-on-1 break-away, that was finished by a Jeff Skinner shot off of Holtby’s skate at the 7:45 mark. The Capitals would return to the power play shortly after the Skinner goal, when the ‘Canes Ryan Murphy was called for Hooking at the 9:30 mark. John Carlson would knock a wrister home 13 seconds into the power play, giving the Caps a 3-1 lead. Assists from Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. Alex Ovechkin would score on a gift turnover by the ‘Canes right in front of their own net at the 16:11 mark, giving the Caps a 4-1 lead.