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NHL Game Summary - Washington at Carolina

(Tuesday, March 25th)

Final Score: Washington 3, Carolina 2 (SO)

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Viktor Kozlov scored the only goal in the shootout, as the Washington Capitals defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, at the RBC Center.

After two scoreless rounds, Carolina's Eric Staal had Cristobal Huet beat on the glove side, but his shot caromed off the crossbar. Kozlov then walked in on Cam Ward and fired a shot over the glove to secure the win for Washington.

Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin scored in regulation for the Capitals, who have won six of their last seven games. Nicklas Backstrom collected two assists, while Huet stopped 25 shots and all three shooters in the extra segment.

Washington, with 84 points, trails Carolina by four points for first place in the Southeast Division. The Capitals also remained two points behind Boston -- which defeated Toronto, 6-2, on Tuesday -- for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"All we can do is win," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We gained a point on them (Hurricanes) but we didn't lose any on Boston and Philly. We just got to keep winning and hope for the best."

Jeff Hamilton and Erik Cole lit the lamp for the Hurricanes, who had a three- game winning streak halted. Ward, making his 15th consecutive start, finished the game with 42 saves.

"We were a little bit sluggish I think at first and jittery, I'm not sure," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "After that I thought we came out of those early six or seven minutes when we weren't on top of our game. We were standing around watching a little bit too much in our own end."

In a hard-fought first period, the Hurricanes emerged with a 1-0 lead on a late tally by Hamilton. Semin was called for hooking with 24 seconds remaining and Carolina quickly capitalized on the power play as Hamilton's attempted cross-ice pass from the left point pin-balled off the skate of Boyd Gordon and slid past a stunned Huet with 13.3 seconds on the clock.

Semin atoned for his earlier infraction with the tying goal at the 7:15 mark of the second period. The Capitals had a 5-on-3 power play for 37 seconds and Semin lit the lamp just after the two-man advantage expired. Backstrom moved the puck down low to Sergei Fedorov, who whipped a cross-crease pass to the near post that Semin hammered home for his 23rd goal of the season.

Ovechkin then netted his league-leading 61st marker, breaking the Capitals' single-season record previously held by Dennis Maruk (1981-82). In transition, the Russian phenom took a pass from Backstrom, found a seam to the net and ripped a shot behind Ward at 9:41. The tally also established a new career- high in points (107) for Ovechkin, the second-best total in the franchise's history behind Maruk's 136-point performance in 1981-82.

Cole's power-play goal knotted the score at two with 3:33 to go in the second frame. The play was originally ruled no goal, but, following a lengthy video review, it was determined the puck did in fact cross the goal line.

Washington outshot Carolina 10-8 in the third period and failed to connect on a power play in overtime.

Game Notes

Carolina is 13-3-2 in 18 games since captain Rod Brind'Amour went down with a season-ending knee injury...Carolina has earned points in 13 of its last 14 home games (11-1-2) dating back to January 29th...Washington continues its season-high, six-game road trip Thursday at Tampa Bay...Carolina hosts Atlanta on Friday.

03/26 00:10:35 ET

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