(SportsNetwork.com) – The Washington Capitals hope to bounce back from
consecutive losses when they visit the rival Carolina Hurricanes for
Thursday’s Metropolitan Division battle at PNC Arena.
The Capitals have lost their last two tests and surrendered a total of 10
goals in the process. Washington was dealt a 6-2 rout Saturday in Toronto
before dropping Tuesday’s 4-3 regulation decision against Vancouver.
Washington tied the Canucks 3-3 on a Brooks Laich goal at 4:39 of the third
period, but Daniel Sedin recorded the game-winner for Vancouver just five
John Carlson had two goals and an assist in the setback and Braden Holtby
stopped 28 shots for the Caps, who have lost four of their last five outings.
“We just have to be more ready for teams that we don’t see that often,” said
Carlson. “We played a good game, but we just didn’t give ourselves a chance to
Washington allowed the Canucks to score three times on four power-play
opportunities and the Caps are ranked 29th in the league in penalty killing.
The Capitals hope to rebound tonight with their third straight win in the
Carolina series. Washington notched a 4-3 overtime win over the visiting
Hurricanes on Nov. 8, with Nicklas Backstrom providing the OT game-winner for
Washington has claimed three of four and six of the past nine overall meetings
in this series, and has won four in a row and eight of 10 in Raleigh.
Holtby is 5-3-0 with a 2.23 goals against average in his career against
Carolina. He is expected to start tonight.
The Hurricanes have won two of their last three games, splitting a home-and-
home series with Pittsburgh before beating visiting Nashville 2-1 on Tuesday.
Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist and Cam Ward made 32 saves to help
Carolina pick up the win and halt Nashville’s four-game winning streak.
Skinner’s first-period goal gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead, and he assisted on
Victor Rask’s goal in the third period that proved to be the game-winner.
Ward, meanwhile, did his best work came in the third period when he turned
away 14 of 15 shots.
The victory came in the second portion of a five-game homestand and improved
Carolina to 5-4-1 as the host.
“We’ve got a lot of home games coming up, and we want to try and get on a bit
of a roll,” said Skinner.
The Hurricanes welcome Detroit on Sunday before capping the stay at PNC the
following night against New Jersey.
Anton Khudobin will get the start in net tonight for Carolina and is 3-1-1
with a lifetime 2.94 GAA against Washington. Ward will not be able to suit up
for tonight’s game due to a lower-body injury. Carolina recalled goaltender
Drew MacIntyre from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on an emergency