The Washington Capitals overcame an electric start by the Carolina Hurricanes and claimed two huge points in a 3-2 victory. The win stops a three-game skid and keeps the playoff hopes alive for a Caps team that had high hopes for the 2013 season.
Carolina started quick, getting a goal just a minute into the game by its potent first line. Former Capital Alexander Semin scored on assists from Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty. The goal was helped by the fact that Washington's Marcus Johansson had lost his stick.
Patrick Dwyer struck just seven minutes later for the Canes, putting the Caps in a 0-2 hole.
Instead of hanging its head, Washington came out a new team in the second period. Joey Crabb found the back of the net to pull the visitors within one. Aaron Volpatti and Karl Alzner assisted on the goal.
The Caps caught a break when Staal was called for a penalty at the end of the second, meaning Washington would start the third period with a power play on a fresh sheet of ice. Alexander Ovechkin wasted no time, striking quickly on a great pass from Troy Brouwer. Nicklas Backstrom also added a helper on the goal.
With the game tied late, Ovechkin drove to the net and put a shot on goal that ricocheted around and sat on the goal line. Luckily for the Caps, Mike Ribeiro was there to jam it home. The goal was reviewed for a few minutes and eventually confirmed.
Despite giving the Hurricanes four power-play opportunities, Washington was able to kill off each one.
Backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth got the start in net over Braden Holtby and made the most of his opportunity. After allowing the two quick goals, Neuvirth settled down and shut the door. He finished the game with 36 saves.
Ovechkin led with two points and helped his team to victory. Though not registering a point, forward Eric Fehr continued his solid play each time he was on the ice.
The win puts the Capitals eight points behind the Hurricanes, who lead the Southeast Division, and five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Washington takes the ice again on Saturday in Boston against the Bruins.