Capitals visit rival Hurricanes
The Washington Capitals will shoot for a second straight victory when they visit the rival Carolina Hurricanes for tonight's Southeast Division clash at RBC Center.
The Capitals won their first seven games of the season before dropping games last week in Edmonton and Vancouver. Washington was able to get back on track Tuesday night against visiting Anaheim, but the Caps needed a late rally to move to 8-2-0 on the season and stay perfect in six games on home ice.
Nicklas Backstrom tied the game with 42 seconds left in regulation and won it at the 2:18 mark of overtime as Washington stormed back for a 5-4 win over the Ducks.
Dennis Wideman and Joel Ward each had a goal and an assist while Troy Brouwer also lit the lamp for the Capitals.
Tomas Vokoun was tagged for four goals on just 15 shots, but stopped enough to help Washington snap its first losing streak of the season.
"I certainly wasn't happy with the first 30 minutes of this game," said Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. "But, the guys kept it close and I was much more happy with our second half of the game. Still, we have to work on things here."
The big story coming out of Tuesday's game was Boudreau's decision to not have superstar Alex Ovechkin on the ice with Vokoun pulled in the final minute of regulation. Ovechkin was visibly upset on the bench and TV cameras caught him hurl a few expletives Boudreau's way, but No. 8 has since said he understands his coach's decision.
"Alex understands and gets it," Boudreau said. "He's a great captain that way. He gets mad because he wants to play and he wants to compete."
Ovechkin, who has five goals and five assists in 10 games this year, was on the ice for Backstrom's game-winner and recorded the primary assist on that tally.
On the injury front, Washington will be without defenseman Mike Green for a fourth straight game tonight. Green is sidelined with an injured ankle, but did make the trip to Carolina and there is an outside chance he could play Saturday against the New York Islanders.
Forwards Brouwer (shoulder) and Jeff Halpern (undisclosed) are questionable for tonight's contest.
The Hurricanes have won two of their last three games, but they haven't fared well recently against Washington. Carolina dropped an overtime decision in D.C. on Oct. 8, giving the Capitals their sixth win in the last seven meetings between the division rivals. Washington has also taken three straight and six of its last 10 tests in Raleigh.
Carolina hosted Tampa Bay on Tuesday and recorded a 4-2 victory over the Lightning, as Jeff Skinner and Chad LaRose each tallied twice.
Skinner, who won the Calder Trophy as last year's top rookie, is leading Carolina this season in both goals (6) and points (12). He has one goal and five assists in seven career games against the Capitals.
Cam Ward stopped 28-of-30 shots for Carolina and is expected to get the start tonight. Ward is 14-8-4 with a 2.54 goals-against average in 27 career games versus Washington.
Tonight's test marks the middle segment of a three-game homestand for Carolina, which is 3-1-1 as the host this season.