Alexander Semin had two goals and an assist, Alex Ovechkin extended his point-scoring streak to 11 games and the Washington Capitals scored five times off turnovers in a 7-3 victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday night.
“It’s frustrating because we need a consistent effort out of the people who are, in the end, making mistakes,” Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. “And I’m not just talking about isolated (incidents) tonight. We need consistent effort from our top lines. They’ve got to be consistent every night. It can’t be good enough just to play one game and then feel good about it, and content about it, where we’re at.”
Eric Fehr, recalled from Hershey of the AHL earlier in the day, scored his first career goal for the Capitals, who had lost two straight and five of six, including a 6-2 defeat to the Hurricanes on Friday night in Raleigh, N.C.
But it was Washington’s early explosion – three unassisted goals in the first period – that set the table. Semin had two of the goals, and now has 29 goals, two shy of Ovechkin’s team lead.
“No surprise,” Ovechkin said of Semin’s play. “He’s a tremendous player and a scorer.”
Justin Williams, Erik Cole and David Tanabe scored for Carolina, which has lost four of six.
Ovechkin had a goal and an assist, and his point-scoring streak matches a career best. Kris Beech, Chris Clark and Brooks Laich also scored for Washington,
The Capitals, who were outshot 37-23, took a quick 3-0 lead by capitalizing on repeated Carolina mistakes in a 4:45 span.
Semin picked up a loose puck and finished a 2-on-2 rush with a quick wrist shot 7:56 into the game, Ovechkin made Carolina defenceman Dennis Seidenberg pay for a turnover near his own net on a power play at 9:53 and Semin scored his 29th on a breakaway at 12:41.
“When we had chances tonight,” Washington’s Brian Sutherby said, “we buried them.”
The Hurricanes scored twice in 50 seconds late in the period to cut the lead to a goal. Williams slipped the puck past a screened Olaf Kolzig from the right side at 16:59, then Cole scored his 100th career goal by capping a three-chance flurry.
Fehr, the Capitals’ first-round choice in the 2003 entry draft, made it 4-2 late the second period. When Tanabe whiffed on a clearing try along the boards, Semin grabbed the puck, which bounced to Fehr, who swept a shot from between the circles at 15:18.
“It was awesome,” Fehr said. “I stole the puck from Semin. I really wanted to put that one in so he wouldn’t be mad at me.”
Beech’s goal, off a crossing pass from Ovechkin while Washington had an extra man due to a delayed penalty call, extended the lead to three goals 3:12 into the third. Tanabe responded then a minute later with his first of the year, a man-up redirect off Eric Staal’s left-wing shot that ended a string of 27 consecutive Washington penalty kills.
Clark restored the three-goal cushion on a power play at 11:07 and Laich scored short-handed with 3:24 left.
“We need to pay a price every night and right now we’re not doing that,” Laviolette said. “Anybody (who) thinks that we paid the price tonight or that we were somewhat interested in skating and battling Washington – I hope nobody leaves the room thinking that. I really do.
Notes: To make room for Fehr, Washington assigned C Jakub Klepis to Hershey. … Carolina D Niklas Wallin (lower body injury) missed the game. Capitals RW Matt Bradley (personal reasons) and D Brian Pothier (upper body injury) were scratched. … Baltimore Orioles players Adam Loewen and Nick Markakis were booed when shown on the scoreboard telescreen, while D.C. United soccer star Ben Olsen drew cheers from the crowd of 16,924.