RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) — The defense did everything for
the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night, from scoring to
shutting down the Washington Capitals’ potent offense.
Cam Ward made 31 saves, and Rod Brind’Amour and defensemen Joni
Pitkanen, Anton Babchuk and Joe Corvo scored goals in Carolina’s
4-1 victory over the Capitals.
Carolina extended its home winning streak to eight games, the
Hurricanes’ longest home streak since their Stanley Cup
championship season in 2005-06. Carolina beat the Southeast
Division-leading Capitals for the third time this season.
“The fans have created a tremendous atmosphere here and we’ve
been able to rally behind them,” Ward said.
Mike Green scored for Washington. He leads NHL defensemen with
28 goals. Alex Ovechkin managed only one assist on the night,
while Alexander Semin was shut out.
“You’ve got to play those guys tough,” Corvo said. “You’ve got
to get under their skin. We took a lot of their weapons away.”
Brind’Amour opened the scoring at 3:53 of the second period,
beating Jose Theodore with a low shot from the slot. Brind’Amour
has goals in five of his last eight games.
“Scoring the first goal has been key,” Ward said. “Despite the
start we had we were able to get the lead and go from there.”
Green tied the it with 33 seconds left in the second period when
he collected a lively rebound in the center of the right circle
and beat Ward, who was unable to get back across the crease to
defend Green’s quick release.
But that was the only offense the Capitals were able generate.
Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said his team effort was not the
same in the third period.
“We were really good in the first and then we started to turn
the puck over in the second and third,” Boudreau said. “We made
a couple of mistakes.”
The Hurricanes got the winner from Pitkanen 4:42 into the third
period just after killing off Brind’Amour’s hooking penalty.
Pitkanen took a pass from Eric Staal as he skated in front of
the crease and flipped it in with a backhander.
Babchuk scored with 6:17 left after taking a pass from Dennis
Seidenberg at the top of the crease. Babchuk’s first shot was
blocked, but he scored on the rebound.
“The puck went into our net too many times,” said Washington
forward Sergei Fedorov. “We were just disorganized.”
Corvo’s goal came in the final minute when he cleared the puck
on a penalty kill. Washington pulled Theodore for an extra
skater and the net was open.
Carolina has been in a tight race for the remaining playoff
spots in the Eastern Conference and will play all but two of its
remaining seven games on home ice.