WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes lost in the dying seconds of overtime, falling 4-3 to the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Saturday.
Even while Riley Nash, Eric Staal, and Elias Lindholm scored to keep the slate even by the end of regulation time, it was Niklas Backstrom who ended a 35-save effort from goaltender Anton Khudobin through extra time to earn the win for the Capitals.
“Disappointing first period for sure, but we bounced back and played better the rest of the way,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.
Following four consecutive wins, Carolina couldn’t pull out another in extra time after topping the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 that way on Friday.
On the tail end of a back-to-back set of games, the Hurricanes put together a valiant finishing effort against a Capitals team that had only one win in its last six games coming into the two teams’ first match-up of the regular season.
Falling behind 2-0 through the early part of the first period, Nash scored his fourth of the season on the power play to bring Carolina within one by the first intermission while being outshot 18-3.
Khudobin continued to work to keep his team close as he could while Washington took a 3-1 lead heading into the third period and continuing to outshoot Carolina by a 28-12 margin at the time.
“He was fine,” Peters said of his netminder’s effort.
“They had us hemmed in there a few times. He made some saves especially there – I think the Backstrom line had a flurry there prior to the power play. And he held in there and gave us a chance to get our legs underneath us and try and mount a comeback.”
Staal and Lindholm netted third-period goals to eventually tie the score 3-3 with 6:07 remaining in regulation time.
It was part of a Hurricanes offensive awakening that resulted in outshooting Washington 14-8 during the final 20 minutes of play and to help salvage a point in the standings.
With only 14 seconds remaining in overtime, Backstrom’s fourth goal of the season gave the Capitals and former Carolina goalkeeper Justin Peters the win.
“Back-to-back nights, you’re on the road, you’re down two in the third and you get a point,” Peters concluded.
“We’ll take that, but we’re definitely looking for the extra point also.”
Notes: Carolina struggled in the faceoff circle, winning only 45 percent of puck drops compared to its current fourth-place standing (54%) in the NHL…Carolina gave the puck away 13 times compared to Washington’s 17, but the Capitals’ takeaway advantage (14-8) minimized the Hurricanes’ offensive capabilities…Eric Staal had a team-high five shots on goal, his highest output since the Hurricanes’ 3-0 win over Arizona last Saturday…Staal’s effort paid off with him posting his third goal of the season and second in his last three games…After being a healthy scratch for last week’s wins over Arizona and Los Angeles, Alexander Semin posted his second assist and point in as many games.