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Hurricanes 4, Capitals 2

Eddie Lack makes 30 saves and Canes close out December with a win

The Carolina Hurricanes celebrate an empty net goal at the end of their win over the Washington Capitals
The Carolina Hurricanes celebrate an empty net goal at the end of their win over the Washington Capitals
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes put an end to the Washington Capitals nine game win streak with a 4-2 win on New Year's Eve at the PNC Arena in front of 14,134 on Thursday night.

The Capitals had an 11-1-1 record in their past 13 games and have been one of the hottest teams in the league.  But the Hurricanes are 8-4-1 now in their last 13 games and are trying to make a move in the standings.

Eddie Lack picked up the win for the Canes, his first win on home ice.  The much maligned goaltender now has a 4-0-1 record in his last five starts and has recent wins over the Blackhawks and Capitals on his resume.

Lack was especially strong down the stretch in this game and he made 30 saves on 32 shots for the night.

The contest started out like Carolina's run of bad luck would continue as Jordan Staal hit the right post then hit the left post on a bang-bang sequence of shots in the first period.

But 7:48 into the second period, Phillip Di Giuseppe got the scoring started with a beautiful shot off of a pass by Joakim Nordstrom.  It was the rookie's third goal and seventh point in 13 career NHL games.

Nicklas Backstrom would tie things up shortly afterward though when he was given a bit too much time and space in the Carolina zone.

Just 51 seconds into the third period, Eric Staal put the Hurricanes up 2-1 on a goal that was originally waved off by the on-ice ref crew.  Philipp Grubauer had made a tremendous diving stick save attempt but the puck crossed the goal line before being knocked out by the goalie.  After a brief review, the goal counted and the Canes had some much needed momentum.

Four minutes and change later, Riley Nash set up Jeff Skinner and Skinner made no mistake as he buried his 14th goal of December, to put the home team up 3-1.

Alex Ovechkin would do his thing to tighten things up again but Andrej Nestrasil made a nice touch play to score an empty-netter and the Canes held on for the win.

They will next play the Nashville Predators at home on Saturday night.

Game Notes:

  • The Canes outshot the Caps 37-32 for the game.  Skinner had a game high six shots on goal and also had three shots blocked.
  • Eric Staal had a goal, and an assist, and led all Carolina skaters with 23:04 of ice time.  Justin Faulk had 22:51.
  • The Canes had one matching roughing penalty but did not have to kill a penalty in this game.
  • Brett Pesce had a team high two blocked shots.
  • It's worth noting that the Caps were coming off a game the previous night and were missing John Carlson, but it was still a great win for the home team.
  • Post game stats and audio
Happy New Year everyone!