The Carolina Hurricanes lost 3-0 to Southeast Division rival the Washington Capitals last night; the injury-plagued Hurricanes were again without veteran defensemen Joni Pitkanen, Tim Gleason and Jamie McBain, while still missing forwards Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu and Tim Brent. The game was also the first game back in Washington DC for ex-Capitals winger Alexander Semin who, before signing a one-year seven-million dollar contract with the Hurricanes this offseason, spent seven seasons in Washington until questions of the Russian winger's commitment and dedication to the team led the Capitals to not resign him.
Hurricanes' starting goaltender Cam Ward made 37 saves, including one save-of-the year candidate on Capitals' forward Joel Ward in the second period. Capitals' starting goaltender Braydon Holtby made 33 saves in route to recording his second shutout of the season.
The Washington Capitals got the scoring started 7:21 into the first period with a powerplay goal by center Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom, who missed practice Monday with an illness, took a nice pass in front of the net from Mike Ribeiro and tipped the puck past Cam Ward to make the score 1-0. The goal was Backstrom's second of the season and was assisted by Mike Ribeiro and Alexander Ovechkin. Although the score at the end of the first period was only 1-0, both teams generated a lot shots on goal with the Hurricanes at 12 and the Capitals at 17 through 20 minutes of play.
The Capitals added to their 1-0 lead merely 31 seconds into the second period on a goal by John Erskine. Forward Nicklas Backstrom took a lead pass from John Carlson and brought the puck into the offensive zone, Backstrom then fired a pass to the point for a wide-open Erskine who burred a slap shot into the net behind Cam Ward. The goal was Erskine's second of the season and was assisted by Backstrom and Carlson.
Carolina Hurricanes' goaltender Cam Ward made what could be the save-of-the-year midway through the second period on Capitals' forward Joel Ward to keep the score 2-0. Ward picked up a puck that deflected off Cam Ward's pads on the right side of the goal and fired a quick shot on net that was met by the outstretched glove of a lunging Cam Ward to deny the Capitals' third goal of the game.
The Capitals would get their third and final goal of the game 11:28 into the third period when defenseman John Carlson hammered in the rebound on a Mathieu Perreault shot that was fired through traffic. The goal was Carlson's third of the season and was assisted by Perreault and Joel Ward.
The Carolina Hurricanes finished the game with 33 shots on goal, while the Capitals finished with 40 shots on goal to secure their fifth win in their last seven games. The Hurricanes take to the ice again tomorrow night at 7:00 inside the PNC Arena against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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