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Nylander, Ovechkin lead Capitals to 5-2 victory over Hurricanes

WASHINGTON - Whatever Bruce Boudreau has done to energize the Washington Capitals' woeful power play is paying dividends.

Good luck, however, getting any of the Capitals to elaborate on their interim coach's newfangled man-advantage strategy.

"I can't tell you," Michael Nylander said with a smile. "Seriously, I can't say anything."

Nylander had a goal and two assists, Alexander Ovechkin scored twice, and the Capitals won their second straight under Boudreau with a 5-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

Washington's first three goals came on the power play, a welcome departure for a team which hadn't scored more than two in a game this season. And Nylander, who was in the middle of all three tallies, was tight-lipped about any changes Boudreau has instituted.

"We've just got to keep believing we have a strong power play," he said.

Boudreau deftly sidestepped a question about the resurgent specialty unit, saying he'd done little but listen to the suggestions of assistant coach Jay Leach and trust in his players' abilities.

"The power play is a great equalizer if you can be successful at it," Boudreau said. "Tonight, we were successful. ... We haven't tweaked it a lot, only we're being more aggressive."

Mike Green and Boyd Gordon also scored for Washington, which is 2-0 since Glen Hanlon was fired Thursday. The consecutive victories are the Capitals' first since Oct. 6-8, the end of a three-game winning streak that opened the season.

"When you win, you feel more confident, more better," Ovechkin said. "But it's only two games. It's history now."

Erik Cole and Ray Whitney scored for Carolina, which has dropped two straight and three of five.

"One thing's for sure: (penalty killing) has to get better," Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams said. "Mid-70 per centile is not going to be good enough. We need to know when we take a penalty, we're not going to be in trouble. We need to have confidence in our penalty killing, and we need to find it."

Nylander set up a pair of power-play tallies in the first period, helping the Capitals to a 2-0 lead.

At 3:03, Nylander's cross-ice pass out of the right corner found Green, who beat John Grahame with a wrister on a dash through the left circle. Just over three minutes later, Nylander was pinned in the right corner when he sent a no-look, backhanded pass to Ovechkin, who swept in a shot from the right wing and extended his point-scoring streak to nine games.

Midway through the second period, Nylander notched his sixth goal for a 3-0 lead. After a faceoff to Grahame's left, Nylander pounced on a loose puck and whacked it in at 11:30.

The Hurricanes finally broke through with nine seconds remaining in the second. Corey Stillman fed Cole, who skated down the slot, split two defenders between the circles and pushed a shot past Olaf Kolzig.

Carolina got within one at 3-2 on Whitney's 11th goal at 2:09, but Ovechkin restored the two-goal lead with 1:50 left in the game, beating Grahame to the far post from the right side.

An apparent goal by Williams with 46.8 seconds left was waved off after a video review because of a high stick. After the ensuing faceoff, Boyd Gordon scored a short-handed, empty-netter with 38.7 seconds remaining.

Notes: Washington hadn't scored two power-play goals since Oct. 29 and the trio was the Capitals' most at home since netting three Feb. 27, 2007. ... It was the Hurricanes' 11th against a Southeast Division foe since Oct. 31. ... Carolina scratched D Mike Commodore (broken finger) and D David Tanabe (flu), while LW Alexander Semin (sprained ankle) missed the game for Washington.


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