NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Washington |
(Wednesday, February 25th)
Final Score: Carolina 2, Washington 1
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Jeff O'Neill's second-period goal proved to
be the difference as the Carolina Hurricanes skated past the Washington
Capitals, 2-1, at the MCI Center.
Recent call-up Arturs Irbe, playing in his first NHL game since April 6, 2003,
made 18 saves to backstop the win. Irbe was demoted to the minors last season
after posting a dismal 7-24-2 record to start the year.
"It was a slow game for him [Irbe], but he made the saves when we needed him
and there was nothing he could have done on the goal scored," said Carolina
head coach Peter Laviolette.
Erik Cole scored the other goal for the Hurricanes, winners of back-to-back
contests. Carolina has also earned a point in five consecutive games
(3-0-1-1) and won for the first time in seven visits to the nation's capital
Robert Lang tallied the lone marker for Washington, which lost for the first
time in six chances to Carolina this year (4-1-1). Lang also extended his
point-scoring streak to 13 games (6g, 10a). He now has six goals and five
assists in the six matchups against the Canes this season.
Sebastien Charpentier, who hadn't played since October 23, stopped 31 shots
as the Capitals saw their winless streak extended to three games (0-2-1).
"Charpy [Charpentier] is a player that I let the other guys know means a lot
to me and he deserves better," said Caps head coach Glen Hanlon. "I know how
much he wants to play, how much he's endured and he deserved two points
Cole opened the scoring with his 13th goal of the season with only 1:08 to go
in the first period. Cole, standing in front of the net, blocked the initial
backhand attempt by Rod Brind'Amour off his leg, then turned around and put
the puck through the legs of Charpentier for the tally, his third in three
Carolina doubled its margin on a two-man advantage just prior to the midway
point of the second stanza. O'Neill, who rang one off the crossbar a minute
earlier, found the back of the net on a one-timer from the bottom of the left
circle off a feed from Sean Hill.
Lang's 29th marker of the year got the Caps on the board with 37 seconds left
in the second, thanks to some hard work by Jeff Halpern. After a point shot by
Sergei Gonchar, Halpern fought off a check in front to get to the rebound and
slid the puck across the goal mouth. Anson Carter shanked a shot at a wide
open net, but Lang was there for the finish.
The Caps managed nine shots in the final period, but could not get one by Irbe
to even the score. Their best chance came with around six minutes remaining
when Lang got behind the Canes' defense, but his backhand attempt slid off his
stick as Irbe aggressively came out to force the issue.
"We hung on -- it's just the way it goes -- you bang a couple off the post and
you get a goalie that hasn't played in a while and he stops 30 some-odd
shots," added Laviolette. "We played a pretty good game but we didn't put them
away when we wanted to, and we let them hang around."
Any other chances for a Washington comeback were stymied when defenseman
Brendan Witt was whistled for kneeing with only 1:53 left on the clock. The
penalty topped off an undisciplined night for the Caps, who were assessed 10
minors on the night.
"We at least worked hard in the third, but we ended up in the box too much
tonight which hurt us," said Caps forward Mike Grier.
Lang, the league's leading scorer with 74 points, now owns the two longest
scoring streaks of the season. He notched a point in 16 consecutive games from
October 31-December 2...Irbe, who played in his 300th contest for Carolina,
earned his first win since January 23, 2003 against Florida...O'Neill
registered his 196th goal in franchise history, tying him for fourth all-time
with Geoff Sanderson.
02/26 00:17:29 ET