The first-place Carolina Hurricanes will aim for their sixth win in seven games when they visit the rival Washington Capitals for Tuesday's Southeast Division battle at Verizon Center.

The Hurricanes, who lead the Southeast by three points over Winnipeg, are 5-1-0 over their last six games and the club has won two of three since No. 1 goaltender Cam Ward went down to a potentially season-ending injury.

Ward suffered a sprained MCL on March 3 and the injury is expected to keep him sidelined for 6-to-8 weeks. Justin Peters went 1-1-0 in the first two games without Ward and Dan Ellis, who is expected to get the start on Tuesday, stopped 31-of-34 shots in Saturday's 6-3 win over visiting New Jersey.

Jiri Tlusty led the way for Carolina in its most recent game, recording two goals and an assist to help down the Devils. He has recorded six goals and three assists over his last six trips to the ice.

Alexander Semin posted a goal and two assists, giving him his fourth multi- point games in six outings. Jeff Skinner had a goal and a helper and Jay Harrison and Chris Terry each scored for the Hurricanes.

"They came ready to play, and we had a great effort from everyone tonight," said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller. "We were able to use four lines and six D, which was great."

Tuesday's test in D.C. is the opener of a home-and-home series, which will end Thursday at Carolina. The Hurricanes will try to get a measure of revenge against the Capitals in the opener after losing a 3-0 decision in Washington on Feb. 26. Braden Holtby stopped all 33 shots he faced in that one to record the shutout.

Washington has taken four of seven and nine of 13 in this series overall, while the Hurricanes have lost three of four and eight of 11 in D.C.

The Capitals suffered their second straight loss in Sunday's test against the New York Rangers. The 4-1 setback also halted Washington's home winning streak and dropped the club to 7-6-0 as the host.

Holtby was pulled after allowing three New York goals on 19 shots and fell to 9-8-0 this season. Michal Neuvirth finished with 10 saves in relief.

The Caps played Sunday without defenseman John Erskine, who suffered an upper body injury early in Saturday's loss to the New York Islanders. He is questionable for Tuesday.