RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes couldn’t muster much of an offensive push and lost 4-1 to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Saturday.
Jeff Skinner’s first goal of the season was the only scoring Carolina (1-4) could generate following a five-goal effort in a 5-3 win over Detroit on Friday.
Goaltender Cam Ward made 30 saves overall and was the difference in keeping the Hurricanes in the game to trail by just a goal heading into the third period.
He stopped 26 of 27 shots faced leading up to that point.
“He kept us in for the most part,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.
“Then turnovers at the end were too much to overcome.”
Defensive breakdowns throughout the final period eventually resulted in Washington’s offense, fueled by at three-point performance from Nicklas Backstrom (1g, 2a), to overpower the Hurricanes’ efforts to keep pace.
After Backstrom scored the eventual game-winner just 1:38 into the final period, Skinner kept Carolina close when a redirected chip shot made it past Washington goaltender Braden Holtby (18 saves).
However, the Capitals’ second power play goal of the game as well as an individual finish from Alexander Ovechkin with 3:49 to play put away any hope for a comeback surge from Carolina.
The Hurricanes went scoreless on the power play throughout the game, finishing 0-for-4, including missing out on converting with a two-man advantage during the second period.
Peters made it a point to mention that specialty teams play had to improve.
“It’s very rare you win a hockey game when you have a 5-on-3 and don’t score,” he said.
“They were 2-for-2 – we were 0-for-4.”
“Specialty teams have to get better,” Peters concluded.
“They have to be better for sure. We’ll see. I thought we had a hard time movin’ the puck. Sometimes when you have a hard time movin’ the puck, sometimes guys don’t want the puck. You gotta want the puck, you gotta work to get open, and you gotta execute.”
Carolina returns to the practice ice at 11 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday at Raleigh Center Ice before heading West on the next leg of its current road stretch that begins in Colorado on Wednesday and continues on to Los Angeles and San Jose, Friday and Saturday respectively.