NHL Game Summary - Washington at Carolina
(Saturday, February 23rd)
Final Score: Carolina 6, Washington 3
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Matt Cullen registered two goals and an assist, as the Carolina Hurricanes bested the Washington Capitals, 6-3, in a critical Southeast Division clash at the RBC Center.
Eric Staal and Joe Corvo each posted a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes, who improved to 2-0-1 on their current six-game homestand that continues Tuesday against New Jersey. Erik Cole added a goal and an assist, while Ray Whitney, Sergei Samsonov and Tim Conboy all collected two assists. Cam Ward stopped 31-of-34 shots to earn his 26th win of the season.
Mike Green had a goal and an assist for Washington, which has dropped two straight and four of five overall. Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich also tallied, and Alex Ovechkin had three assists to snap a three-game scoreless streak. Olaf Kolzig yielded all six goals on 42 shots in defeat.
With the loss, Washington falls six points behind Carolina for first place in the Southeast Division.
"There's 20 games left," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "An awful lot can happen in 20 games. One week can turn things one way or the other. We've just got to get back to believing again."
In the middle stanza, Carolina scored a pair of power-play goals in a span of 2:13 to pull ahead 3-2. First, Cullen jammed home a rebound at 3:43 and then Cole buried a rebound in tight at 5:56 to give the Hurricanes their first lead of the contest.
Washington's power play locked the score at three, as Laich blew a snapshot past the blocker and right pad of Ward at 8:47.
Carolina reclaimed the lead with 3:21 remaining in the period. After Kolzig turned aside Conboy's shot from the right point, the Capitals were unable to clear the rebound and Staal, following up the play, knocked in the loose puck for his 30th goal of the season.
Kolzig continued to receive no help from his defense, as Andrew Ladd swooped in and lifted a rebound over the goaltender's left pad at 3:50 of the third.
Then, while on yet another power play, Corvo sneaked in from the point and tapped in a loose puck at 7:44 to make it a 6-3 game. It marked the defenseman's first tally since he was acquired as part of a four-player deal from Ottawa on February 11.
"We talked about it just before the game and when you're doing things the right way on the power play and you're attacking them, there's movement and there's a lot of shots," said Carolina coach Peter Laviolette, commenting on the club's success with the man advantage.
Washington got on the board first, as Green netted his 16th goal of the season, which leads all defenseman, at 6:06 of the opening frame.
As Green joined the rush, Ovechkin hit the defenseman in stride with a perfect tape-to-tape pass. Green then moved in on Ward and ripped a backhander between the goaltender's pads.
The clubs then exchanged power-play markers and the Capitals took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
After Cullen's slap shot from the point somehow eluded the traffic in front of Kolzig and found room in the right corner with 6:36 remaining, Semin flipped a wrister up and over the catching glove of Ward less than three minutes later to put Washington back on top.
Carolina has recorded at least 40 shots in three consecutive games...Staal reached the 30-goal plateau for the third straight season...Carolina's Trevor Letowski appeared in the 600th game of his NHL career...Washington had killed its last 22 shorthanded situations entering play, but the Hurricanes finished 4-for-7 on the power play, tying a season high. Washington went 2- for-4 with the man advantage...Carolina defenseman Glen Wesley sustained an undisclosed injury in the first period and did not return...Carolina improved to 3-1-1 since losing captain Rod Brind'Amour for the season to a torn ACL...Semin extended his goal streak to four games...Washington hosts New Jersey on Sunday.
02/23 20:56:42 ET