National Hockey League

Holtby blanks Hurricanes, spoils Semin's DC return

Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Braden Holtby stopped all 33 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season, as Washington took down Carolina, 3-0, at Verizon Center.

"He's playing very well. [Carolina] had a few extra shots, but chances wise they didn't have a lot. A lot of those shots he sees from a long way out. I think he's feeling really good," said Capitals head coach Adam Oates of his starter, who has won five of his last seven starts. "He's on a little roll, so we're riding him."

Nicklas Backstrom, John Erskine and John Carlson lit the lamp once each for the Capitals, who have won five of their last seven thanks to a season high in shots on net.

Cam Ward made 37 saves in defeat for the Hurricanes, who have lost four of five. Former Capital forward Alex Semin made his return to America's capital and was a minus-one with four shots on net in more than 21 minutes of ice time.

"I was happy with the effort tonight," said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller. "We had some opportunities to score. We didn't score on those, couple of 2- on-1's. They gave it everything they had."

Holtby stopped Semin on a breakaway in the opening minutes of action, and Backstrom's doorstep deflection of a Mike Ribeiro centering pass on the power play made it 1-0 for the hosts at 7:21.

It was the eighth consecutive contest in which the Caps have tallied the first goal of the game, longest since a nine-game run from Oct. 29, 2009-Nov. 14, 2009.

Erskine doubled the advantage off the rush on a slapper from the point just 31 seconds into the second period.

Ward came up with the save of the contest approaching the midpoint of the period, stretching across the crease and flashing his glove to deflect away a Joel Ward opportunity.

Carlson then let fly from the right circle and beat Ward through the pads on a low, hard shot with 8:32 remaining for a 3-0 score.

"We'll enjoy it for a little while and then tomorrow morning we're going to focus on Philly, and we have to get back to work," added Oates.

Game Notes

Backstrom posted his second goal of the season and first since February 1, a span of 10 games ... On Monday, the Capitals signed Holtby -- who notched his fifth career whitewash -- and Erskine to two-year contract extensions ... Semin played in Washington from 2003-12, racking up 197 goals and 408 points in 469 games ... Tuesday marked the first time Washington shut out Carolina at home since a 2-0 result on Oct. 6, 2007 ... These clubs split six meetings a year ago.

02/26 22:52:22 ET

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