The Canes scored first. Then the Caps took control and grabbed a 2-goal lead. The Canes came back in the final period to tie it up. No scoring in OT, and it took a shootout to decide this one.
On Saturday night at Verizon Center, the Caps looked like the team we saw the first half of the season -- the team who surrendered only one game out of 20 on home ice. Other teams were growing to dread a visit to DC, knowing how tough the Caps were to beat at home. Then, something went terribly wrong, and the Caps started losing at home -- first occasionally, then consistently. Before the road trip last week, the Caps lost four in a row in the phone booth.
Fans sitting in Verizon Center Saturday night hoped for a better outcome against the Hurricanes. Fortunately, they were rewarded with not only a win but an exciting game as well. The Canes went up 1-0 midway through the first period, then the Caps took over, scoring three in a row on goals from Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin, and Alexander Semin. Eric Staal of Carolina scored in the second to get the Canes back in it, only to see Nicklas Backstrom get the 2-goal lead back a few minutes later. Then, with just 7 seconds left in the second period, the Canes scored again, making it once again a one-goal game, and Caps fans held their breath as the third period got underway. The Hurricanes managed to tie it up in the third and the game headed into OT.
Goalies Cam Ward and Jose' Theodore were kept busy in OT. Ward faced more shots (6), but Jose' had to make the more spectacular saves. Neither goalie gave up a goal in OT, so it was off to the shootout. Viktor Kozlov, Semin and Ovi were the shooters for the Caps; Semin and Ovi each scored. Theo denied both of the Canes' attempts, and Washington came away with the win.
Alexander Semin had a goal and three assists in regulation, and the game-winner in the Shootout, so it was no surprise he was awarded First Star. Mike Green's goal brought his point total for the season to 60, joining the rest of DC's Young Guns in the 60+ point club this season.
Final Score: Caps 5, Hurricanes 4 (W).