Ovechkin scores two, ends Carolina’s win streak at home
By Peter Koutroumpis
RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes had pace, but the visiting Washington Capitals, led by captain Alex Ovechkin, had more jump at PNC Arena on Tuesday night.
As a result, the Hurricanes suffered a 5-4-overtime loss that ended their recent six-game home win streak.
Victor Rask scored a pair of goals while Elias Lindholm and Teuvo Teravainen added singles for the Hurricanes.
Goaltender Cam Ward made 21 saves in the losing effort, while his counterpart Braden Holtby faced 38 shots, and made critical saves on the penalty kill in the final minutes of regulation to advance the contest to overtime for the Capitals.
Playing the first of the two teams’ four match-ups this season, Washington, led by Ovechkin’s game-tying and game-winning goals, just plainly took advantage of making quicker strides to get to pucks that eventually ended up in the net.
The NHL’s top team in the Metropolitan Division didn’t do anything more that take advantage of lapses in Carolina’s timing to get to and clear pucks.
“I thought some of their goals, we could have handled them differently,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.
“There were some mistakes made both ways tonight, and the teams are skilled enough to capitalize on it.”
Dominating puck possession for much of the opening five minutes, Rask opened the game’s scoring when he intercepted a weak pass attempt across the low slot by Capitals defenseman John Carlson.
Rask made no mistake in putting a shot along the ice that beat Holtby and put the Hurricanes ahead 1-0 at the 5:21 mark.
It didn’t take Washington long to even the score a minute or so later.
Alex Chiasson one-timed a cross-slot pass past Ward following a neutral zone rush by Chandler Stephenson.
The Caps forward threaded a pass through the Carolina defensive tandem of Justin Faulk and Haydn Fleury to complete the play.
With 7:07 remaining in the period, Washington’s Devante Smith-Pelly snapped a shot from the right faceoff dot that beat Ward below his blocker and inside the right post.
The Caps led 2-1.
Carolina soon got the opportunity to tie it up when Washington assistant captain Brooks Orpik aggressively shoved Hurricanes forward Derek Ryan into the boards from behind.
Holtby made a handful of critical stops during Carolina’s first man-advantage of the game, and maintained the Caps one-goal advantage into the first intermission.
Washington extended its lead to 3-1 at 8:48 of the second when Dmitry Orlov followed up on his own shot and caught Ward unprepared for the play off the end boards.
It appeared that the goalkeeper thought defenseman Jaccob Slavin would pick the puck up to clear it into the corner, but Orlov outskated the D-man to net his fifth of the season.
Afforded another power play opportunity just under three minutes later, Justin Williams’ backhand pass to Rask set him up to wrist home his second of the game and 10th goal of the season, and pull the Hurricanes to within one.
The early part of the third period was played at a frenzied pace, and one at which the Hurricanes took advantage of.
Lindholm tied it at the 5:40 mark on a wrist shot over Holtby’s shoulder on a play that was preceded by the keeper making a pad save on shot from Jeff Skinner.
The puck eventually moved behind the net and to the middle of the slot on a pass from Derek Ryan where Lindholm netted his 11th of the season from.
The scoring momentum stayed with Carolina and resulted in an eventual own goal 85 seconds later by Orpik that was credited to Teravainen and gave the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead.
Following through on a shot that caromed off the end boards, and with bodies flying around the crease area, Teravainen got credited with the tally as his attempt to tap the puck into the net was preceded by Orpik’s swipe at it that instead did it for him.
The Capitals didn’t relent and evened it up on Ovechkin’s first goal at the 12:45 mark.
Intercepting a clearing pass from Slavin, Nicklas Backstrom slid a pass to a streaking Ovechkin off the right boards after he got a step on the Carolina defender and went forehand-backhand to beat Ward to his blocker side.
With 1:55 remaining, the Hurricanes got their opportunity to regain the lead, and potentially win the game with Tom Wilson in the penalty box for tripping.
Using its fourth man-advantage of the game, Carolina was patient, but so was Holtby.
Making a handful of key stops at every angle they came from, he managed to keep the score tied.
In overtime, Ovechkin struck again.
Gathering speed with the puck from his own zone, he rushed the puck up ice and simply ended the game with a fake, and then a snipe from the top of the right circle that found room past Ward’s blocker side one more time.
“Good that we came back, bad that we gave it up,” Williams concluded.
“That was a tough bounce. One of the best goal scorers made a couple of plays and won the game.”
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport