Hurricanes face tough opponent in Capitals

Posted February 20, 2012

— The Carolina Hurricanes host the Washington Capitals Monday at the RBC Center (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network HD, 99.9FM The Fan ESPN Radio).

It has been over a month since the Washington Capitals last put together a winning streak, but a solid divisional record has kept them in the hunt in the Southeast standings.

The Caps try to rebound from a weekend loss this evening as they battle a Carolina Hurricanes club that is running out of time to move up the standings.

Washington visited the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday looking to win two straight for the first time since a three-game run from Jan. 11-15. Fresh off a win over the Southeast Division-leading Panthers, the Capitals were dealt a 2-1 loss by the Lightning and now sit two points behind first place.

The Capitals' 63-point total also has them one back of the Maple Leafs and Jets for the East's eighth spot.

Brooks Laich scored the only goal for Washington, which has lost four of five and nine of its last 13. Tomas Vokoun ended with 21 saves.

"[The Lightning] clogged it up pretty good. Definitely we were trying to be maybe too cute, but they blocked a lot of shots. We couldn't get shots through," said Caps head coach Dale Hunter.

Alexander Semin picked up an assist on Laich's goal and has nine points over his last eight games. Alex Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet but still has nine points in his past nine games.

Washington saw the return of Mike Green on Saturday as the defenseman played for the first time since Jan. 7 after undergoing sports hernia surgery. Green logged a little over 14 minutes of action and said afterwards that he "felt fine."

"I think they scheduled me to come back so I could have an off day [Sunday]," he said. "That's the plan and I think we'll stick with it."

Washington fell to 10-5-2 versus the Southeast Division and that includes a 3-1-0 mark in four games versus Carolina this year. The Capitals are 8-1-1 in their last 10 versus the Hurricanes overall and had won four in a row at Carolina before dropping a 3-0 decision at RBC Center when the clubs last met on Jan. 20.

Cam Ward logged a 23-save shutout to down the Capitals, but is doubtful for this game after exiting Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Islanders. Ward allowed three goals on 21 shots through two periods, but did not return for the third due to a lower-body injury. Justin Peters made nine saves on 10 shots in relief, but was beaten for the game-winner just 38 seconds into the frame.

Peters had gotten the start the previous day versus the Sharks, making 35 saves in a 3-2 victory in his first action since Jan. 7. Peters has appeared in just four games this season for the usually-durable Ward.

Brandon Sutter, Jiri Tlusty and Jaroslav Spacek each lit the lamp for the Hurricanes, who had their season-high six-game point streak (4-0-2) snapped.

"They scored the majority of their goals on the rush," said Hurricanes forward Eric Staal. "And that's where they hurt us."

Tlusty has four goals and three assists over a seven-game point streak, while Staal has four goals and eight points in his last five games.

Carolina, which opens a six-game homestand, sits last in the East with 55 points, two behind Buffalo and three back of a trio of teams that are tied for the 11th spot.


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  • PanthersFan45 Feb 20, 2012

    I have a feeling we'll see Peters in net tonight and not Ward. It would be nice if they can open up this long homestand with a win over the Caps. I'd like to see Eric Staal extend that point streak as well. C'mon Canes, hope you can do it tonight.

  • gwnunn Feb 20, 2012

    How can we lose to the teams not in the playoffs and beat the Champions Bruins 4 out of 4. I guess you have to play each game. The Hurricanes are so much better since Muller came. I wonder how Maurice is feeling these days. Quite a few years wasted away for this team but they are coming and coming hard.

  • bubbba Feb 20, 2012

    Seems like every opponent is tough for Hurricanes, except Boston.

  • americaneel Feb 20, 2012


  • john41 Feb 20, 2012

    I would like if Karmanos would just exit this entire franchise altogether. Find a buyer. Thanks for the 2006 championship, sell and get out entirely. This team needs a few big name players to get over the hump.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Feb 20, 2012

    When you're in dead last place....isn't EVERY SINGLE other team a tough opponent?

  • zoom Feb 20, 2012

    After hanging Murph out to take the loss with no goals allowed they owe him a start. I for one want to see what he can do at the NHL level. Peters got his win, give Murphy a shot. Hope Cam is not out for an extended period.

  • Zaknow Feb 20, 2012

    The Caps are always tough. The Canes will have to play well to get some points!

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