Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday night at Verizon Center:
How it happened: In his first game back after offseason hip surgery, Nicklas Backstrom set up T.J. Oshie’s power play goal in the first period, scored unassisted early in the third and set up John Carlson’ power-play goal midway through the third to lead the Caps to their third win of the season. Braden Holtby turned aside 18 shots as the Caps played one of their strongest defensive games of the season. The only goal Backstrom did not assist on came late when Alex Ovechkin blasted his third goal in three games past Cam Ward after an excellent forecheck by Evgeny Kuznetsov.
What it means: With six points, the Caps moved past the idle Flyers (4 points) and are one point behind the Islanders in the Metro Division standings.
Turning point: Leading 1-0 early in the second period, the Caps dug themselves a hole when back-to-back penalties to Jay Beagle (tripping) and John Carlson (slashing) put the Hurricanes on a 5-on-3 power play for 38 seconds. But excellent penalty killing by Brooks Orpik, Taylor Chorney, Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Laich, T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams kept the Canes off the board.
If looks could kill: During the Caps’ second period penalty kill, Braden Holtby had his mask knocked off by Jeff Skinner when Skinner was checked into him by Alzner. With his mask on the ice, Holtby covered his face with both gloves as Carolina defenseman Justin Fault launched a slapshot just over Holtbny’;s head and into the unguarded net. Faulk’s shot came just after the whistle had blown and Holtby stared him down with a nasty glare.
Eyes in the sky: The Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche all had scouts in attendance Saturday night.
What’s next: The Caps are scheduled to practice at 11 a.m.on Sunday. They are expected to fly to Calgary on Mondaymorning to begin a three-game road trip against the Flames, Canucks and Oilers.
MORE CAPITALS: Backstrom returns as Capitals' second-line center