The Carolina Hurricanes improved to 3-1-0 on the preseason as they kicked off a three-game road trip with a 4-1 win in the nation’s capital on Saturday night.
The first 20 minutes were filled with penalties and both teams were able to capitalize.
Justin Williams started the scoring with his second goal of the preseason, banging one home out front after Justin Faulk got a point shot on net. Jordan Staal provided the net-front presence on the play. The Carolina powerplay moved the puck quickly and confidently in the opening frame, specifically with the combination of Williams, Staal and Teuvo Teravainen up front.
The Capitals did answer before the end of the period as Alex Chiasson found a soft spot in the slot and Trevor Carrick failed to break up a centering pass. Chiasson fired one glove-side past Cam Ward who was left out to dry on the play.
From there on, Carolina kept Washington at bay and they ran away with the game.
Carrick sent a howitzer past Philipp Grubauer just north of half-way through the second period. Valentin Zykov, who had an impressive showing against the Caps despite seeing just 10:32 of ice time, set him up with a cross-slot pass.
An early third-period goal gave the Hurricanes a big two-goal cushion, as Zykov won a neutral zone board battle and sprung Julien Gauthier, who lowered a shoulder on Matt Niskanen, created room on an inside-out move, and ripped one short-side past Grubauer on the rush.
Faulk then closed things out with an empty-net goal with 2:12 to go in regulation time.
Cam Ward got the start for the Hurricanes and stopped 23 of 24 shots over a full three periods of action. It was a strong showing for the expected backup goalie as he was beaten only once, and it was a poorly covered penalty kill situation.
Carrick finished his night with two points (one goal, one assist), two hits and two blocked shots. While he doesn’t have the inside track on a roster spot like Haydn Fleury does, he has certainly played his way into the conversation. He was seemingly in the middle of every post-whistle scrum, and that feisty nature could be very beneficial for the team if he were to make the team out of camp.
The Canes will continue on their road trip as they take on the Edmonton Oilers at the Rogers Place on Monday before a neutral site rematch in Saskatoon on Wednesday, in which the Hurricanes will be the home team.