Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Alex Ovechkin scored his 400th career goal
late in the third period, and the Washington Capitals rode a sizzling power
play to beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-2, at PNC Arena.
Ovechkin hit an empty net with 25 seconds remaining, sealing the win with his
NHL-leading 29th goal of the season.
Nicklas Backstrom collected four assists for the Capitals, who got a 39-save
performance from Philipp Grubauer.
Cam Ward stopped 25 shots for Carolina, which failed to produce an equalizer
despite a pair of third-period power plays.
The Capitals entered the game with the league's second-best power play and the
unit converted three times in the second period.
"They got a potent power play and obviously it was the big difference
tonight," said Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller.
Marcus Johansson lit the lamp 41 seconds into the frame to draw Washington
even at 1-1. The Capitals took their first lead when Backstrom fed John
Carlson at the point and the defenseman let go of a one-timer that sailed past
Ward at 8:34.
Carolina, not to be outdone, potted a power-play goal of its own. Riley Nash
was parked in front of Grubauer when he pounced on a rebound, tying the
game at 2-2 with 8:44 remaining.
The Capitals moved back ahead on Troy Brouwer's goal a little over four
minutes later. Backstrom set up Mike Green at the point this time and Brouwer
managed to deflect Green's muted slap shot with 4:31 left.
"We did some good things to earn the power plays and that can't get
overlooked," said Washington head coach Adam Oates. "Yeah, we lived off the
power play, but we also had zone time to earn those power plays."
Jordan Staal scored in the first period to stake the Hurricanes to a 1-0 lead.
Justin Faulk fired the puck along the right-wing boards from the Carolina zone
to Alexander Semin, who tipped the puck in the neutral zone right onto the
stick of Staal at the Washington blue line. Staal took the pass on the fly and
wristed a shot past Grubauer with 2:48 to play.
Ovechkin became the sixth-fastest player in NHL history to reach 400 goals,
doing so in 634 career games ... Washington forward Mikhail Grabovski played
in his 400th NHL game ... The Capitals have scored at least one power-play
goal in five straight games ... Johansson left the game with a lower-body
injury and did not return ... This was the third meeting of the season between
the Metropolitan Division rivals. Carolina won the first two in the nation's
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