Capitals Weather Hurricanes, 4-3, End Two-Game Slide

Photo: NHL Network

The Washington Capitals defeated the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-3 at PNC Arena on Friday night. The win, which snapped the team’s first two-game regulation losing streak this season, propelled the Capitals eight points ahead of the New York Islanders, who have two games in hand on the Capitals, and Pittsburgh Penguins, who have one, for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 38 saves in the win.

Capitals’ Lines at Hurricanes

The Capitals flipped centers Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller in the middle-six forward group. Center Nic Dowd returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Islanders to be with his wife, who gave birth to a baby boy that night. They switched defensemen Jonas Seigenthaler and Michal Kempny in the lineup.

First Period

The Capitals led 12-3 in hits, 5-0 in blocked shots, and had no power-plays through 20 minutes.

The Hurricanes led 18-7 in shots, 5-3 in takeaways, didn’t convert on two power-plays, and won 63% of the draws in the first.

Each team gave away the puck twice in the opening period.

Nic Dowd was given a 10-minute penalty for tossing a ‘Canes stick into the crowd at the end of the period.

Second Period

Forward Richard Panik took the puck to the cage on a net drive but was stopped by goaltender Petr Mrazek. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, defenseman Brett Pesce put it into his own net while defending forward Carl Hagelin on the rush to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead 2:58 into the period. The goal was Panik’s second in three games.

Kuznetsov potted defenseman John Carlson’s pass into a wide open net from the backdoor after Carlson got Mrazek out of the net and froze everybody to make it 2-0 on the power-play 2:09 after Panik broke the ice. With an assist on the goal, center Nicklas Backstrom tied Daniel Sedin for the fifthmost power-play points (367) by a Swedish-born NHL player.

The Capitals led 14-8 in second-period shots, 16-4 in hits, 7-2 in blocked shots, had four giveaways while the Hurricanes had seven, and went 1-for2 on the man advantage through 40 minutes.

The Hurricanes led 26-21 in shots, 12-5 in takeaways, won 62% of the draws, and went 0-for-4 on the power-play in the first two periods.

Third Period

Hurricanes center Jordan Staal deflected Pesce’s point shot in front of Samsonov and into the goal to cut the Capitals’ lead in half 39 seconds into the third.

Center Lars Eller got it right back 1:50 later, getting Carlson’s bomb from the point that went wide off of the boards and putting the puck into a wide open net to restore the Capitals’ two-goal lead on the power-play. With an assist, captain Alex Ovechkin now ranks third all-time among left wingers with 608 career points on the road.

Forward Jakub Vrana one-timed one past Mrazek’s glove at the cage after Kuznetsov fed him off the rush to make it 4-1 2:20 after Eller scored. The goal was Vrana’s first since December 6.

Forward Teuvo Teravainen made it 4-2, one-timing one on the far side after getting the puck from a mad scramble in front of Samsonov at 6:35.

Forward Ryan Dzingel sniped one to the top corner from the slot on the power-play after getting fed by forward Martin Necas to cut the Capitals’ lead to one with 7:25 left.

The Capitals led 20-10 in hits, 12-4 in blocked shots, had nine giveaways while the Hurricanes had 13, and went two-for-four on the man advantage.

The Hurricanes led 41-29 in shots, including 15-8 in the third, 14-6 in takeaways, won 62% of the draws, and went two-for-six on the power-play.

Samsonov won his eighth straight road game to begin his NHL career, becoming the second goaltender in NHL history to do so (Brent Johnson: 1999-2000) and the first to do it over one season.

The Capitals return home to host the San Jose Sharks on Sunday afternoon. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington beginning at 12:30 PM ET.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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8 Responses to Capitals Weather Hurricanes, 4-3, End Two-Game Slide

  1. Day One Caps Fan says:

    Sammy! Sammy! Sammy! It was all Sammy tonight
    Caps were less sleepy than they were the past two weeks
    But still did their darndest to give this game away!
    Braden Hole-by now becomes a very expensive backup goalie

    Caps are missing some pieces
    Need a fancy defender. Fehervary in Hershey fits the bill.
    Caps really aren’t better than anybody right now. Certainly not better coached!
    Sunday vs SJS will the Caps be up to the task? Glad I don’t have a bet on the line

  2. Diane Doyle says:

    They had gotten me worried, especially giving up 2 goals in short order after getting their 4-1 lead. I had visions of that blown lead in Game 7 to that same team But won it in the end.

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