Washington Capitals Shut Down Hurricanes 4-2, Take Over Top Spot in League

Dmitry Orlov, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Dmitry Orlov, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /
GoaltenderRecordGAA / SV%
Washington CapitalsIlya Samsonov14-3-52.00 / .938
Carolina HurricanesFrederik Andersen15-4-13.16 / .875

TLDR:  Washington Capitals double up Canes in 4-2 regulation win, take over top spot in the league as Protas tallies1st NHL goal, and Dmitry Orlov scores the game-winner on the power play.


In a Sunday afternoon matinee, the Washington Capitals took on the Carolina Hurricanes from PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC for the first time this season. After missing six games due to COVID-19 protocol, Lars Eller returned to the Caps’ lineup, and Ilya Samsonov, who was 8-0-1 heading into the match, got the start in net once again.

  • The Hurricanes sat atop the league with a 15-3-1 record with 31 points, but the Capitals sat just one spot back, also with 31 points, but have two more games played.
  • Ovechkin leads league with EV points 26, on pace for 140 points on the season
  • Justin Schultz was placed on IR (11/28/21), Cholowski playing his third game as 3rd defensive pair.
  • Capitals are outscoring opponents 22-10 when Kuznetsov is on the ice
  • Eller is back in the lineup; Sprong is a healthy scratch

Line Combinations

Washington Capitals

Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Protas

McMichael – Eller – Wilson

Hagelin – Dowd – Hathaway

Malenstyn – Sgarbossa – Leason

Fehervary – Carlson

Orlov – Jensen

Cholowski – van Riemsdyk




Carolina Hurricanes

Svechnikov – Staal – Fast

Teravainen – Aho – Necas

Niederreiter – Trocheck – Jarvis

Martinook – Kotkaniemi – Lorentz

Slavin – Deangelo

Skjei – Pesce

Smith – Cole




Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

Period 1

The Capitals started off extremely slow and sloppy off the opening draw. We talk so much about how matinee games are a weak spot for Washington, but the Caps are actually 6-1-1 in their last eight day games. Carolina’s first shot against was a 4-on-1, and while trying to play the puck from behind the net, Samsonov lost coverage of the net and lost his stick creating a wide-open opportunity.

The majority of Carolina’s 10 shots came in the first five minutes. Their second high-danger chance was a partner play from Teravainen and Aho, but the score remained 0-0. The Capitals managed to create some chances of their own when Aliaksei Protas nearly scored his first about three minutes in, and Nic Dowd almost scored himself shortly thereafter.

The first two power play’s of the game went to the Hurricanes as Evgeny Kuznetsov was called for tripping (8:38), and then Lars Eller went off for interference (13:49). The Capitals successfully killed off both penalties to keep the game scoreless.

The first period would end 0-0, but with Carolina outshooting the Capitals 10-7 and dominating in the faceoff circle.

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

Period 2

Just 40 seconds into the middle frame, Tuevo Teravainen was called for hooking giving Washington their first power play of the afternoon. Although the Caps did not convert this time, they entered today’s game with three power-play goals in their last four games. Carolina’s 93% penalty kill against Metro opponents kept the score 0-0. The Capitals kicked off the second period with better movement and pace, as they peppered Canes’ goaltender Andersen with a number of quality opportunities early on.

Carl Hagelin, who has had NO puck luck this season, nearly made it 1-0 as a shot squeaked across the goal line, but stayed out. Momentum tilted in the Caps’ favor as they put up two goals in succession, just 59 seconds apart. First came Alex Ovechkin‘s 19th of the year, courtesy of a perfect lay-up from Dmitry Orlov.


Aliaksei Protas made it 2-0, Capitals, with his first career NHL goal. Protas is Washington’s 6th rookie to tally their first NHL goal.

Brady Skjei put his Canes on the kill as he went off for interference with just under three minutes left in the period. But not long after, Tom Wilson and Brendan Smith were called for incidental minors so play resumed as 4-on-4.

Leading by two, the Capitals said goodbye to the second period and hoped to hold their lead for the win.

Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

Period 3

Another early penalty against Brady Skjei put Washington back on the power play early in the final frame. The Capitals would not convert. Jesperi Kotkaniemi cut Washington’s lead in half at the 6:22 mark of the third with his 5th of the year. The Hurricanes score in droves, therefore, Washington had to stay sharp to keep the game manageable. Carl Hagelin again just almost scored as his shot rang iron behind Andersen, but stayed out.

Carolina earned another opportunity with the man-advantage as Martin Fehervary went off for hooking. The Capitals would kill off the penalty, but would then give up a goal just two seconds after expiration of the penalty. Nino Niederreiter’s game-tying goal came at the 13:31 mark, as a failed clearing attempt by Eller led to the scoring opportunity. Perhaps making up for the goal against, Nick Jensen drew a penalty shortly thereafter to put the Caps back on the power play. Seth Jarvis was sent off for holding with five minutes remaining, and 30 seconds later, Sebastian Aho was called for slashing, giving Washington a two-man advantage for 90 seconds. Just beyond the 17-minute mark and on the power play, Dmitry Orlov broke the tie with the eventual game-winning goal, his 4th of the season.

In hopes of re-establishing a tie and perhaps forcing overtime, Carolina pulled goaltender Andersen for the extra skater with 2:27 left. Always a risky move, but sometimes it pays off. This time, the Capitals would score again, as John Carlson made it 4-2, Washington. 

With the win, the Capitals take sole possession of first place in the NHL (for now). With 33 points, the Hurricanes, Panthers, and Leafs are within two points of overtaking the Caps.


Kassie’s Three Takeaways of the Game

  1. Ilya Samsonov is now 8-0-1, undefeated in regulation, and has the 6th fewest goals against among goalies with at least 10 GP.
  2. Three of Dmitry Orlov’s four goals this season have been game-winning goals.
  3. Alex Ovechkin has 37 points in 22 games, which ranks 2nd in the league (19G, 18A).

Hot. Washington Capitals claw past Panthers behind Alex Ovechkin hat trick. light


The Washington Capitals are next in action on Tuesday, where they will face the Florida Panthers for the second time in three games, with puck drop coming shortly after 7:00pm EST from FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida.