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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 2nd (All times Eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (15-16-9) at Washington Capitals (20-15-5), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Carolina Hurricanes won for only the second time in 10 games their last time out, and they'll try to build some momentum when they visit the rival Washington Capitals for Thursday's Metropolitan Division clash at Verizon Center.
The Hurricanes ended a five-game losing streak with Tuesday's overtime win against visiting Montreal. The 5-4 decision improved Carolina to 2-4-4 over its last 10 games.
Although Carolina is currently sitting in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division, the 'Canes are just six points behind second-place Washington. Carolina won a pair of road meetings with the Caps earlier this season before dropping a 4-2 decision at home on Dec. 20.
The Capitals have won four of the last six meetings against the Hurricanes, but Carolina has claimed two in a row and three of its past four tests in D.C.
Alexander Semin played the hero for Carolina on New Year's Eve, scoring the winner at 3:27 of overtime to help the Hurricanes complete a comeback win over the Canadiens. Carolina trailed 3-0 entering the third, but scored four straight goals to take the lead before Montreal tied the game halfway through the frame.
The Hurricanes had to survive a double-minor to Eric Staal with 3:29 to play in regulation, but killed it off.
On the winning goal, Ron Hainsey fired a slap-pass from the right point to the left circle where Semin gathered the puck on the backhand, then turned around and fired a shot on net that beat Carey Price for the win.
"I'm sure that was a fun game for the fans but we don't want to do that too often," said Staal. "We made a bunch of mistakes early, but we were able to rally and this is a big win for us."
Jeff Skinner had two goals and an assist, Staal finished with a goal and two assists, with Manny Malhotra also scoring for the Hurricanes. Cam Ward stopped 21 shots for the win.
On Wednesday, Carolina acquired defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Tim Gleason. The Hurricanes also receive the rights to defenseman Dennis Robertson from Toronto as part of the deal.
Liles played in six games with the Leafs this season without registering a point. He has 77 goals and 236 assists in 627 career games with the Avalanche and Leafs.
"John-Michael is a puck-moving defenseman who has demonstrated in his career that he can make a difference offensively from the blue line," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said.
Gleason had one assist in 17 games with the Hurricanes this season. The 30- year-old has 15 goals and 113 assists in 616 career games with the Kings and Hurricanes.
Robertson is a senior defenseman at Brown University. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 NHL Draft.
Washington, meanwhile, has lost its last two outings, dropping road decisions in Buffalo and Ottawa on Sunday and Monday, respectively.
After earning a point in Sunday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Sabres, the Capitals were dealt a 3-1 setback the following night in Ottawa. Kyle Turris tallied the game-winner 3:14 into the second period, as the Senators held on for the win at Canadian Tire Centre.
Joel Ward netted Washington's lone goal, while Philipp Grubauer gave up two goals on 37 shots for the Capitals, who have lost four of their last five games.
"We didn't make too many mistakes tonight, but they are a good skating team with a lot of talent," Washington head coach Adam Oates said of the Senators. "They were opportunistic tonight."
Braden Holtby could get the call in net tonight for Washington after Grubauer started the last four outings. Holtby is 4-3-0 with a 2.26 goals against average in seven career outings against the Hurricanes, while Ward is 16-12-4 2.56 in 33 games (32 starts) versus Washington.
Washington is 13-8-1 at home this season and the Hurricanes are 7-8-4 as the guest.
01/02 10:43:21 ET