Caps visit struggling 'Canes hoping to extend road point streak

The Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes have been heading in opposite directions since they split a home-and-home series in mid- March.

The Capitals try to extend a five-game road point streak on Tuesday evening in a meeting with the Hurricanes, losers in eight of their past nine.

Washington and Carolina traded road victories when they met on March 12 and the 14, with the Capitals getting third-period goals from Alex Ovechkin and Mike Ribeiro to claim a 3-2 victory two days after getting shut out at home by the Hurricanes 4-0.

Riley Nash scored twice for Carolina in that win and Justin Peters notched a 26-save shutout, the second of his career.

The Hurricanes led the Southeast Division by three points over the Winnipeg Jets heading into that March 14 meeting with the Capitals, who sat 10 points back of first place at the time.

However, Carolina has gone 1-7-1 in its last nine to fall into a tie for second place with Washington, which has posted a 6-3-1 record since getting shut out by the 'Canes.

The clubs sit four points back of the first-place Jets, who visit the New York Islanders on Tuesday, with games in hand. Carolina and Washington are also tied for 10th overall in the Eastern Conference, three points back of the eighth spot.

The Hurricanes have won four of their last six overall against the Capitals, but Washington has claimed victory in five of its last seven in Carolina.

That is where the Caps wrap a three-game road trip and they had won their previous four as the guest before suffering a 5-4 overtime loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. Washington failed to hold a two-goal lead in the third period, giving up the tying marker with 9.5 seconds left in regulation.

Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson netted power-play goals 26 seconds apart in the third period, while Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green also scored. Braden Holtby stopped 29-of-34 shots in defeat.

"It's tough obviously. It's bad, but we needed to make more of an effort on our part the last couple of minutes there," Backstrom said.

Washington, though, is still 4-1-1 in its last six and has the services of a red-hot Ovechkin, who has a goal in eight of his past 10 games, with nine total in that span. The Russian superstar also has 12 points over an eight- game point streak.

Carolina could use a player like Ovechkin for its struggling power play, which sits last in the NHL at 12.7 percent. The Hurricanes are 0-for-11 on the man advantage over their last two games and just 1-for-17 in the past four. They failed on all five chances on Monday night in a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

Jordan Staal had the lone goal of the game for the Hurricanes and Peters was charged with three goals on 28 shots in the loss.

"Our power play hasn't been good for us most of the season," said Staal. "When the games are there, we need a big goal and our power play has to step up, including myself. We have to find our way to score goals. We're making good plays, but we have to put it in the back of the net."

Peters has started the past four games with No. 1 netminder Cam Ward and backup Dan Ellis out due to injury. Ellis was activated off injured reserve on Monday, having been out with a lower body injury. He served as the backup versus the Canadiens.

The Hurricanes begin a three-game homestand.