One for the little guy: Gerbe's tally sends 'Canes past Caps
Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Nathan Gerbe scored the tie-breaking goal 6:59 into the third period as the Carolina Hurricanes came through with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center.
Former Capital Alexander Semin knotted the game at 2-2 with a 5-on-3 power- play conversion late in the second period, while Elias Lindholm netted his first career NHL goal earlier on to help the Hurricanes prevail.
Jeff Skinner added two assists for Carolina, which bounced back strongly from Tuesday's 5-2 setback at Pittsburgh, with Anton Khudobin turning aside 30- of-32 shots in the win.
"These are the [games] that you have to reach down and give a little extra because they are going to be a little more intense," said Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller of the divisional matchup. "I thought our guys were really focused right from the start and played 60 solid minutes. They dug down and it wasn't easy. They stayed with it and came from behind and got a huge win."
The Capitals were dealt a second consecutive defeat despite Alex Ovechkin's fifth goal of the young season and a 33-save effort from Braden Holtby. Jason Chimera had Washington's only other score.
Ovechkin had put Washington on top by a 2-1 count with 6:08 to go in the second period, but the Capitals surrendered the lead shortly after. Joel Ward was sent off for smothering the puck 43 seconds following Ovechkin's tally and an interference call on John Erskine soon gave Carolina a two-man advantage.
The Hurricanes quickly cashed in on the 5-on-3 situation, as Semin beat Holtby stick-side with a one-timer off an Eric Staal feed 3:46 prior to the second intermission.
Carolina then dominated the early stages of the final session and forced a critical turnover in the Capitals' own end that led to a long drive by Justin Faulk. Holtby was able to block the attempt, but Jordan Staal corralled the rebound and fed an open Gerbe along the right side of the net for the go-ahead goal.
"He's doing a lot of things of well without the puck," said Muller of Gerbe. "He competes and he works and he's really worked for his goals so far [this season], and it was a huge one [tonight]. It's nice to see him get rewarded for all the other things he did tonight."
Khudobin managed to ward off a furious Washington onslaught in the game's waning stages, coming up with four saves in the final 37 seconds to enable the Hurricanes to hold on.
"We are putting ourselves in good positions," said Caps defenseman Steve Oleksy. "When we figure out how to put 60 minutes together and close out those games, I think we will be talking about a different story."
Washington controlled the action for the majority of the opening period and took a 1-0 edge into the second on Chimera's goal 5:33 in. Khudobin left a large rebound when stopping a long-range attempt by Eric Fehr, with Chimera beating the Carolina defense to the puck and firing it past the goaltender from the left circle.
The second period featured far more action, with the teams combining for three goals within a three-minute, 16-second span.
Lindblom, the fifth overall pick of the 2013 draft, began the barrage with a wrister that caromed off Washington defenseman John Carlson's skate and got through with just over seven minutes to go in the session.
Just 54 seconds later, Ovechkin successfully re-directed Oleksy's shot from the right point to temporarily put the Capitals back in front.
The game marked the first divisional matchup for Washington as a member of the newly formed Metropolitan Division ... The Capitals went 0-for-5 on the power play after scoring on 6-of-12 chances with the man advantage over their first three outings ... Washington had been 11-0-4 in its last 15 matchups with Carolina decided by one goal ... Eric Staal appeared in his 694th career game with the Hurricanes, tied with Rod Brind'Amour for fourth place in franchise history and second all-time since the club relocated to Raleigh ... Defenseman Alexander Urbom, claimed by Washington off waivers from New Jersey on Oct. 2, made his Capitals' debut.