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(Thursday, January 2nd)
Final Score: Carolina 4, Washington 3 (OT)
Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Jeff Skinner picked up right where he left off at the end of the 2013 calendar year.
Skinner completed his second career hat trick 1:20 into overtime to lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center.
A Washington turnover in the offensive zone triggered a 3-on-1 rush by Carolina during overtime. Skinner, who scored 12 goals in December to tie Chicago's Patrick Sharp for the NHL lead, tapped in Ryan Murphy's feed past Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
"Goal scorers can go on streaks and he's certainly on a nice streak," Carolina head coach Kirk Muller said about Skinner.
"You give him the opportunity and he's certainly going to capitalize. (Murphy) made that great play at the end. He's an opportunist. He's finding the holes now, and it's great because not only is he scoring, but he's scoring big goals for us."
Manny Malhotra had the other goal for Carolina, which has won two straight -- both in overtime -- after an 0-3-2 skid. Anton Khudobin made 38 saves in his first action for the Hurricanes since he suffered an ankle injury on Oct. 13.
Alex Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer and Steve Oleksy all scored during a lively second period for the Capitals, who have dropped three games in a row and five of six overall. Grubauer stopped 29 shots.
"We are not playing our best hockey, but we are finding a way to get some points in the mix," Oleksy said.
There were an abundance of goals in the opening 4:34 of the second period. The teams combined for five tallies, beginning with Ovechkin potting his league- best 31st on a snap shot from behind the right circle at the 49-second mark.
Ovechkin had been held without a point in the previous four games.
Carolina got a quick response from Malhotra, who finished an odd-man rush and gave the visitors a 2-1 lead by beating Grubauer high on the short side at 1:44.
The Capitals then scored twice in a 52-second span to grab a 3-2 lead. Brouwer chipped in a rebound to Khudobin's right at 3:02 before Oleksy lit the lamp after circling behind the Carolina net at 3:54.
In between the goals by Brouwer and Oleksy, Ovechkin failed to convert on a penalty shot.
Skinner pounced on a rebound in the slot to draw the Hurricanes even at 4:34.
The Carolina forward opened the scoring on a two-man advantage.
Washington was caught with too many men on the ice and Brooks Laich went off for high-sticking 38 seconds later. Killing the 5-on-3 became even more challenging for the Capitals when Nicklas Backstrom lost his stick.
Backstrom was unable to break up Alexander Semin's pass to Skinner, who fired a shot from the right side of the net over Grubauer at 13:27 of the first period.
The Hurricanes have taken three of the first four meetings this season, including all three at Verizon Center ... Washington has lost three straight at home in the series for the first time since a four-game slide from March 2, 1990-March 24, 1992, when the Hurricanes were the Hartford Whalers ... The Capitals scored two goals in less than one minute for the fourth time this season ... Defenseman John-Michael Liles made his Carolina debut after being acquired from Toronto on Wednesday.
01/02 22:35:44 ET
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