Capitals Blank Carolina, 4-0, In Mantha’s Return; Kuznetsov Scores, Carlson Tallies Two Helpers

Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals shut out the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-0 at Capital One Arena on Thursday in left-wing Anthony Mantha’s return to the lineup from shoulder surgery, which he underwent on November 4.

The win lifted the Capitals one point behind the Boston Bruins, who will have a game in hand after Thursday night’s game at the Vegas Golden Knights, for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and six behind the New York Rangers (two) for third in the Metropolitan Division. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 36 saves in his first start since February 1.

Capitals’ Lines vs. Hurricanes

Graphic: @Capitals

With Mantha back and left-wing Carl Hagelin out, Conor Sheary bumped down to the fourth-line. Right-wing Daniel Sprong replaced Joe Snively after missing four straight games as a healthy scratch. Defenseman Justin Schultz, who missed two games with an upper-body injury, replaced Michal Kempny on defense.

Scratched: Kempny, LHD Matt Irwin

Injured: Hagelin (eye, missed first game, indefinite); Snively (upper-body, first, week-to-week); G Ilya Samsonov (upper-body, first, day-to-day)

First Period

Center Evgeny Kuznetsov ripped a shot past the blocker of Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen with right-wing T.J. Oshie providing a screen in front of him after walking in from the top of the blueline to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead on a power-play with 1:27 left. The Capitals have a power play goal in nine of their last 12 games. Washington entered tonight’s game with a 25.7% power play efficiency since January 28, which was tied for fifth in the NHL.

The Capitals led 8-6 in shots, 2-1 in takeaways, struck once on three man advantage opportunities, and won 58% of the draws in the first.

The Hurricanes led 8-3 in hits, 3-2 in blocked shots, had one giveaway while the Capitals had three, and did not score on their first power play.

Second Period

Defenseman Martin Fehervary ripped one after Sheary stripped the puck from behind the goal-line and he executed a quick give-and-go with right-wing Garnet Hathaway from the right dot to double the Capitals’ lead at 8:30. Fehervary has become the 11th rookie defenseman in franchise history to score four goals in a season and the first since John Carlson scored seven in the 2010-11 season. Before Carlson was Ken Klee in 1995-96 with eight goals. Hathaway earned his 20th point of the season (10 goals), which sets a new career high.

Captain Alex Ovechkin blasted a one-timer from above the dot past the blocker of Andersen after getting a feed from Carlson at the top with 4:55 left in the period. Carlson now has recorded points in seven of his last nine games (one goal, 10 points).

The Capitals led 24-19 in shots (including 16-13 in the second), 6-5 in takeaways, won 52% of the draws, and scored twice on five power plays through two.

The Hurricanes led 13-8 in hits, was held scoreless on three opportunities on the man advantage, and had three giveaways while the Capitals earned seven through 40 minutes.

Each team blocked five shots in the first two periods.

Third Period

Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce redirected defenseman Dmitry Orlov’s bomb from the top past the blocker of Andersen after Sheary fed him from the half-wall to make it 4-0 with 58 seconds left.

The Capitals led 12-9 in blocked shots, won 54% of the draws, scored twice on six power plays.

The Hurricanes led 36-32 in shots (including 17-8 in the third), 19-17 in hits, was held scoreless on three opportunities on the man advantage, and had five giveaways while the Capitals earned nine.

Each team earned six takeaways.

Next game: Saturday vs. Seattle Kraken (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington in-market, ESPN+ out-of-market)

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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2 Responses to Capitals Blank Carolina, 4-0, In Mantha’s Return; Kuznetsov Scores, Carlson Tallies Two Helpers

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