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Washington and Carolina danced for the 163th time tonight and the Hurricanes determined the pace all evening. The Capitals travelled to North Carolina early this morning and were served at PNC Arena by their hosts on Saturday night.
First up, Saturday night’s Plus/Minus.
- Plus: Not much from tonight, except acknowledging the fact that Carolina probably played the best game of their year tonight against a tired Capitals team.
- Minus: The line of Jordan Staal, Sebastian Aho, and Teuvo Teravainen were a handful for Washington to try and contain tonight. Those three combined for eleven points and could’ve added more were it not for some timely saves (especially in the first period) from Philipp Grubauer.
Eleven more notes on the game:
- The Capitals arrived in Raleigh last night at 3AM EST after their contest in Chicago Friday night. Barry Trotz did not hold a morning skate to allow his team to rest before beginning their second game in less than 24 hours.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov got the game’s scoring started by snapping a shot past Cam Ward’s glove hand from the slot. Dmitry Orlov gained the zone with momentum down the right wing and fed Kuznetsov quietly from his backhand for the primary assist.
- Less than a minute later Aho scored his first National Hockey League goal (with his parents in attendance) to tie the game at one. He gathered the puck and slipped a Jordan Staal rebound behind Grubauer in the blink of an eye for his milestone moment.
- And before the first period could end Teravainen sniped a high, hard shot past Grubauer’s glovehand to give Carolina their first lead. A delicious dish from Aho gave Teravainen all the time and space he needed to whip the puck home.
- Carolina would connect again, this time early in the second period with the man advantage. Staal slammed the puck into a wide open net after controlling a Teravainen rebound that forced Grubauer to yield vacant net on Staal’s side of the ice.
- And a little less than five minutes later Victor Rask would extend the Hurricanes’ lead to three. After winning an offensive zone faceoff planted himself to Grubauer’s right and poked home a bouncing puck off of the end boards.
- Aho completed the scoring by deflecting a Teravainen shot into Washington’s empty net, Trotz having pulled Grubauer with four minutes to play.
- Grubauer’s start tonight was his third of this season, having bested the Avalanche (via shutout) and Canucks last month in his previous two contests. He looked good early tonight but couldn’t neutralize the Hurricanes’ fast and skilled play singlehandedly.
- The loss is Washington’s third away from home this season, and the second they have dropped in regulation away from Verizon Center.
- Bill Peters’ club snapped a three game losing streak with their win tonight, their fourth of the year.
- Best wishes for Brian Bickell from the entire Rink crew after his MS diagnosis was announced yesterday. We hope the two time Stanley Cup champion can find his way back onto the ice to continue his career.