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HOCKEY

Caps rally to take the wind out of the Hurricanes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Alex Ovechkin and Matt Hendricks scored third period goals as the Washington Capitals fought back to snatch a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, extending their winning streak to seven games.

With the win, the surging Capitals closed to within two points of the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers while the ninth-placed Hurricanes push for a playoff spot stalled with a third straight loss.

Capitals rookie goaltender Braden Holtby was sensational as the Hurricanes outshot Washington 41-26.

"I didn't think we were very sharp," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters. "They had 40 shots on goal. I think they were carrying the play and they were beating us to the puck.

"We made the plays in the third period that we needed to win, and that was it."

After a scoreless opening period, Tuomo Ruutu tallied late in the second to give Carolina a 1-0 lead going into the intermission.

But the Capitals roared out after the break, Ovechkin scoring his 28th of the season just 47 seconds into the period while running his point scoring streak to seven games.

The Russian sniper has been in strong form of late, scoring seven goals with 10 assists over the last 12 games.

Hendricks then notched the winner at 7:24 in the final period when he jumped on a rebound in front of the Carolina net and pounded the puck past netminder Cam Ward.

"If there was going to be a rebound, I wanted to be the one to get it," said Hendricks. "I just wanted to try to get it over his pad.

"Looking back over the past few years, in Washington there hasn't been a whole lot of adversity and guys are really coming out and playing and fighting to the end, pulling out those one-goal games.

"It's a lot like playoff hockey right now."

(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Patrick Johnston)