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Hurricanes 4, Capitals 1

Jeff Skinner has two goals and an assist and Justin Peters makes 26 saves to lead Carolina at Verizon Center

Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm celebrate in Washington
Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm celebrate in Washington
Rob Carr

Kirk Muller made some changes before this game and they all turned out well for him as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Washington Capitals, 4-1 at the Verizon Center on Tuesday night.

Muller decided to go with Justin Peters in net which was a bit of a surprise and Peters did not disappoint as he made 26 saves, a couple of them top notch.  Peters has a 4-3 career record against the Caps and has a GAA of under two goals a game, which was improved upon in this game.

The head coach also decided to move Jeff Skinner up on the first line with Tuomo Ruutu and Eric Staal and the former Calder winner came through with a three point night, as the line looked good together throughout the game.

Jiri Tlusty had been struggling of late and Muller had a long chat with the winger after Monday's practice.  Tlusty responded with a pretty goal and played an active overall game.

The Hurricanes took the lead first, something they have only done eight times this season, when Skinner squeaked a puck by Braden Holtby at a bad angle 10:20 into the first period.

The win gives the team a 6-0-2 record when they score first.

The Canes erupted for three more goals in the second period within a span of 3:44.

Skinner would beat Holtby again at 11:18 into the second, this time short side on a perfect shot as he skated the puck in the Washington zone.

Shortly afterward, Andrej Sekera scored a powerplay goal from the point to make the score 3-0.  Then Tlusty lit the lamp on a wicked backhander less than a minute after Sekera's goal to close out the Carolina scoring at 15:02.

Mike Green scored his first goal of the season with a blast from the point during a Washington powerplay midway through the third to break up the shutout, but the Caps could not get another one past Peters.

This was the best, consistent 60 minute effort that Carolina has put forth in awhile and they will try to build on this when they go to Nashville to take on the Predators Thursday night.

Game Notes:

  • Peters really looked solid in this game.  Gone is the scrambling goalie who appeared nervous while allowing rebounds galore last season.  This latest version of "Pete Dawg" was under control throughout the game and was able to control his rebounds.  This performance  and his other recent ones do not make for an easy decision for Jim Rutherford when Anton Khudobin is ready to play, which should be soon.
  • Skinner looked like a new player on this night, compared to his recent games in Raleigh.  If you noticed his interview after the game on Sunday, his hair was dry, looking like he barely worked up a sweat during the game.  He was dripping wet in this game during an interview with Chantel between the second and third periods.
  • The Canes finished 1-4 on the powerplay while the Caps went 1-5.
  • Brett Bellemore left the game midway through the second after getting clobbered by Tom Wilson.  There was no update on his status.
  • Sekera proved his worth to the team in this game and was second on the club with 24:21 of ice time.  He is tied for second on the team in scoring with 6G and 8A, the same as Skinner.  Justin Faulk had a team high 26:43.
  • The team outshot the Caps 32-27.  Skinner led the way with seven while Ruutu had five.
  • Ruutu was credited with a team high five hits.  Bellemore was next with four, before leaving the game.
  • Eric Staal and Jay Harrison each had two assists and Peters earned an assist on Skinner's second goal.
  • Post game interviews are at Canes PR.